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Theory, Politics, Criticism, and Education

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How do education and freedom of speech tie into politics? French theorist Michel Foucault examines this relationship in his Berkeley lecture “Discourse and Truth” in the context of ancient Greek society, but his historical examination is also pointedly relevant to today.

Please read sections: “The Meaning of the Word ‘Parrhesia'” (pg. 2-5), “Parrhesia and the Crisis of Democratic Institutions,” and part of “The Practices of Parrhesia” (pg. 29-54) in the provided text: Foucault – Discourse and truth.pdf.

In approx. 400 words, using at least two direct quotations from the text, consider the contemporary or at least generalizably theoretical relevance of Foucault’s historical work.

Questions to consider: how does parrhesia relate to truth? What does education have to do with democracy? Why does Foucault emphasize danger? Is criticism good/essential? What happens to politics when criticism is forbidden? Does it prevent the right of free speech to acknowledge that there may be consequences to speaking freely?

Please cite your text properly, but as this is an unofficial transcript of the lecture you should use the author’s name and the website from which I got this transcription (https://foucault.info/parrhesia/) (Links to an external site.) in easybib to construct a bibliography. As mentioned earlier in class, footnotes are the preferred way to cite from texts.

General reminder about citing from a longer text: your professors are not mind-readers. I can’t, sadly, take on faith that you read and understood the entirety of a text on your word alone. The best way to show me that you understood the reading is by writing about it in your assignments. But, when students only cite from the first few pages of a text in their papers, it makes it seem to your readers like you just skimmed the first couple pages and didn’t read any further. Now, obviously there is often interesting stuff to talk about in the first few pages of a text, but a student who wants to demonstrate that they read more of the text should also refer to stuff that happened later in the text too. Let’s say, having at least two quotes that are at least 20 pages apart (considering the length of this reading) that both relate to one another in some way you delineate should be a good start to demonstrating that you did the work.

Otherwise, if you do not cite anything from further than a few pages into the assigned sections, I will grade you as though you did not complete the reading. So please, for the sake of your own grade, demonstrate to me in your assignment that you did the assigned reading.