Jacques Bidet Professor Emeritus, University of Paris-Nanterrre

A Critical History of Socio-Political Modernity: Foucault, Marx and the Project of Human Emancipation

April 8, 2014, 4pm, Curti Lounge (Humanities Building, Room 5243)

Co-sponsored by the Havens Center, the University Lectures Committee, the Goldberg Center, the Geography Department, the Department of European Languages and Literature, the Department of History, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research in the Humanities

A man smiles broadly at the camera. His gray hair is short and curly. His mustache and beard have a similar coloration. He wears metallic eyeglasses with rectangular frames in a silver tone. He wears a navy blue polo shirt. He appears to be standing indoors against a white wall; sunlight cast threw windowpanes can be seen above his head.JACQUES BIDET is Professor emeritus at the University of Paris-Nanterre. He is a reputed social theorist, philosopher and historian, who has done path-breaking work on both the origins and theory of modernity.  Specifically, while many scholars focus on the idea of capitalism as being at the heart of modernity, Bidet theorizes modernity in terms of three layers, organization, market and a world system of nation-states. Through this more complex theorization, he is able to show both how the above structures and system reproduce hierarchies and domination and also how the ideas associated with these structures, such as equality and freedom, which are essential for the functioning of the market, make possible an oppositional politics with transformative potential.