Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ladelle McWhorter


In an interview in 1977, seven years before his death, Michel Foucault made the following profound and controversial statement:

Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint.

Within this sentence lies perhaps his most contested assertion: that knowledge is not some property of statements or beliefs that exist separately from relations of power within societies and discourses, but is constituted by and constitutive of them. Foucault's genealogies of sexuality and punishment are the most notable means by which he develops this claim, and their own potent explanatory powers leave us with an urge to apply his re-conception of knowledge and power elsewhere. Foucault re-describes knowledge in a way we almost instinctively find wrong at first; an understanding that leads many to believe that understanding knowledge in such a way doesn't constitute any understanding of knowledge at all.

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