Davide Tarizzo | Biopolitical Anthropology: An Introduction

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Biopolitics studies how the government of human beings qua living beings is theorized and practiced. Biopolitical anthropology studies how human nature is conceived from a biopolitical point of view, and what impact such a conception has on society and culture. French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault laid the foundations for research into biopolitics in the 1970s, but today the situation is quite different; hence the need to revise, at least partially, the conceptual framework for biopolitical inquiries.

Over the last decades, notions such as modularity and optimization have become key to understanding the evolution of governmental rationality, while concepts such as population and behavior have taken on a new meaning, in a continued effort to naturalize or utterly biologize all aspects of human life for the purpose of improving the biopolitical technologies of power and widening the range of potential applications. Against the backdrop of such developments that are changing the face of some social sciences and increasingly compromising the legitimacy of others, a new grammar of knowledge has gained ground, and with it, a new idea of what it means to be human.

Related Event

The day after the lecture, on May 22 from 10:30–11:30 AM, Tarizzo will join Stanford graduate students for a workshop on "Rights and Democracy: Some Thoughts Concerning the Co-originality Thesis." 
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About the Speaker

Davide Tarizzo is Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Salerno, Italy. His main areas of interest are political theory, the history of modern thought, and psychoanalysis. He has lectured in many European, Latin-American and North American universities. Among his publications are Life: A Modern Invention (University of Minnesota Press, 2017); and Political Grammars: The Unconscious Foundations of Modern Democracy (Stanford University Press, 2021). He is currently working on a new book entitled The Morals of Life: Biology, Biopolitics, Bioethics.

About the Series

The Harry Camp Memorial Fund was established in 1956 by friends and associates of Harry Camp. A prominent businessman and philanthropist in San Francisco, Camp was described as a "gentle and wise humanitarian." The fund brings outstanding speakers to Stanford for public lectures and promotes the study of "the concept of the dignity and the worth of the individual." 

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