Ambivalent Modernities: Foucault’s Iranian Writings Reconsidered

  • Corey McCall Elmira College


This essay reconsiders Foucault’s writings on the Iranian Revolution in the context of his thought during 1977-1979. The essay defends three related claims: (1) Foucault does not turn away from power toward ethics as many scholars have claimed, (2) Careful interpretation of the texts on the Iranian Revolution will help us to better understand Foucault’s essays and lecture courses from this period (in particular, the relationship between political spirituality and counter-conduct), and (3) During this period Foucault is working on conceptualizing modernity as a multivalent set of practices—some that reinforce power relations and some that resist them.

Author Biography

Corey McCall, Elmira College
Corey McCall is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Elmira College in Elmira, NY. His current research examines the philosophical significance of Foucault's essays on literature. His articles on Foucault have appeared in Idealistic Studies, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, and International Studies in Philosophy. He has also published on figures such as Benjamin, Heidegger, and Emerson.
Special Issue on Foucault and Religion