Heidi Trautmann

Jan 31 - Sidestreets in Kyrenia - Conversations on Culture #7



Sidestreets in Kyrenia

Conversations on Culture #7


The seventh event in Sidestreets’  “Conversations on Culture” series in Kyrenia will be a presentation by Dr. Johann Pillai on “Michel Foucault’s ‘Discipline and Punish’: The Birth of the Prison.”


The event (presentation and full Sunday luncheon) is scheduled for Sunday, 31 January at 12:00, at Onar Village in Kyrenia. The cost of admission is 30 TL, and seats should be reserved in advance at Sidestreets, Tel: 229-3070.


Johann Pillai’s visual presentation, the first in a Sidestreets series of three on Michel Foucault (there will be two more, on Foucault’s study of medical perception, “The Birth of the Clinic”; and on his history of insanity in the age of reason, “Madness and Civilization”) provides a clear and accessible overview of this brilliant philosopher’s work, which “sweeps aside centuries of sterile debate about prison reform and gives a highly provocative account... of innovations that range from the abolition of torture to the institution of forced labor and the appearance of the modern penitentiary... a genuinely revolutionary book, whose implications extend beyond the prison to the minute power relations of our society.”


Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a French philosopher, sociologist, historian and professor of the “History of Systems of Thought” at the Collège de France, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the University of California at Berkeley. His major works include social histories of prisons, medical perception, insanity, and sexuality. In 2007, The Times Higher Education Guide listed Michel Foucault as the most cited intellectual in the humanities.


“Discipline and Punish” (1975) is a classic work of social history, a “history of the human soul” which traces the power relations between crime and punishment as they have developed over the last four centuries, from the spectacle of torture to the hidden logic of prisons, rehabilitation, education, and surveillance. When the book was first published, prison inmates got hold of it and read it to each other, shouting through the walls from cell to cell; the resulting riots led to substantial prison reforms in France. Asked about his ethics as a historian, Foucault responded: “I am not a historian. I write fictions that may come true in the future.”

Nomen est Omen?

Rather: Picture est Omen?



Johann Pillai - Sidestreets
Johann Pillai - Sidestreets

Michel Faucault
Michel Faucault

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