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Biopolitics: Foucault and Beyond is a Course

Biopolitics: Foucault and Beyond

Apr 27, 2022 - Jul 31, 2022

$100 Enroll

Full course description

Friday, July 8th, 2022 | 2-5pm (ET)-- Fully Online Workshop

CEs for LMHC will be submitted for review to respective credentialing bodies.


This workshop circles around biopolitics, a concept introduced and developed by French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault. Briefly, biopolitics offers a way to think about how “life” – its organization, management, and optimization – came to be a focus of modern governance from the 17th century forward. Foucault’s analysis of biopolitics (also known as “biopower”) has two important aspects: disciplinary power, which addresses itself to individual bodies, and biopolitical power, whose fundamental unit is population. In this workshop, we will read what Foucault had to say about disciplinary power and biopolitical power in the two books where he introduced these terms: Discipline and Punish and History of Sexuality, Volume I, respectively. To see how he continued to revise and also complicate his own thinking about biopolitics, we will read brief excerpts from his lecture courses at the Collège de France.

Through these readings we will gain an understanding of the relationship between disciplines of the individual and biopolitics of the population. The focus on life – modern states seek to “make live and let die,” Foucault argues – has been accompanied by some of the bloodiest and deadliest conflicts the world has ever seen, including multiple organized genocides. With Foucault and also with resources offered by work in postcolonial studies and critical race studies (Mbembe and Chow), we will seek to make sense of this deadly paradox.

The workshop will be structured around an opening presentation by the workshop leader, who will take participants through key concepts, situating them not only within Foucault’s larger body of work and interests but also with an eye to how others have put Foucault’s ideas to work. No prior knowledge or familiarity with Foucault’s work is required. Short readings will be circulated to workshop participants in advance.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation the participant will be able to:

  • Describe Foucault's understanding of “biopolitics”
  • Describe Achille Mbembe's understanding of “necropolitics"
  • Apply the concepts of biopolitics and necropolitics as a way to analyze governmental responses to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Compare Achille Mbembe's “necropolitics" and Michel Foucault's "biopolitics"
  • Apply conceptual tools for thinking about the relationship between the social and the psychic
  • Develop connections about the relationship between disciplines of the individual and biopolitics of the population

Timeline and Requirements:

This workshop will take place on Friday, July 8th, 2022.  This workshop is presenter-led and is a fully online experience. This will be conducted synchronously online via Zoom from 2:00 pm-5:00 pm (ET). 

CE Sponsorship: 

University Counseling Services of Boston College is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. As a co-sponsor of this program, University Counseling Services of Boston College maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Participants will be eligible to receive 3 CE units from University Counseling Services of Boston College. 

Participants must attend the lecture in full and complete the post event survey to be eligible to receive CEs.

This lecture does not offer CEs for other clinicians not listed above. 

Fees & Policies:

Payment is due by credit card at registration. Registration closes July 8th at 2pm. Refunds will be granted only up until registration closes at 2pm on July 8th. No refunds will be granted for registration or technical errors on the participant's part (such as incorrect name/email, login failure, etc.).

Additional offerings from the Lynch School Professional & Continuing Education Office can be found on our website


Ann Pellegrini

Ann Pellegrini, PhD, is Professor of Performance Studies & Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. They are the author/co-author of three books: Performance Anxieties: Staging Psychoanalysis, Staging Race (Routledge, 1997) and 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People, co-authored with Michael Bronski and Michael Amico (Beacon Press, 2013). She and Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou are the recipients of the first Tiresias Paper Award, from IPA’s Sexual and Gender Diversity Studies Committee, for their co-written essay “A Feminine Boy: Normative Investments and Reparative Fantasy at the Intersections of Gender, Race, and Religion.”