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Philosophical Archaeology

Reading Group - A.A. 2016-2016 - I-II Semester



Title: Philosophical Archaeology

Conveners: Luca Bianchin, Giacomo Mercuriali

Contacts: giacomo.mercuriali@gmail.com, lucabianchin89@gmail.com 

«La généalogie s’oppose à la recherche de l’origine».
(M. Foucault)

During the XX century philosophical archaeology has emerged as an alternative research perspective to historiography and history of ideas. Proposing itself as an investigation on the «historical a priori», it has tried to study, through erudition and critical analysis, the different conditions of possibility of thought and subjectivity in history. This reading group would like to start a methodological reflection reading and discussing some paradigmatical texts.

We will deal with four different authors, trying to understand what they share and what distinguish them both in their methodology and application of a kind of philosophical archaeology. We will start considering the recent production of Giorgio Agamben which will help us to take a critical distance and an historicised view on the topic. We will move on to Michel Foucault, a major reference for Agamben and author of The Archaeology of Knowdledge, a seminal book he wrote in order to explain his own method to those who rejected his previous works on the history of madness, clinic and epistemological orders of the classical age. The third author we will take into consideration is Walter Benjamin and his radical philosophy of history. We will conclude dealing with Friedrich Nietzsche who, on the brink of the XX century, has been a common reference for Benjamin, Foucault and Agamben. Our hope is that, once completed this hermeneutic circle, we will have the instruments to critically evaluate the method, the research possibilities and the limits implied in a philosophical archaeology.



  • G. Agamben, “Archeologia di un’archeologia”, introduzione a E. Melandri, La linea e il circolo. Studio logico-filosofico sull’analogia (1968), Quodlibet 2004.
  • G. Agamben, Signatura rerum, Bollati Boringhieri 2008.
  • G. Agamben, Il regno e la gloria. Per una genealogia teologica del regno e del governo, Bollati Boringhieri 2009.
  • G. Agamben, Vortici, in Il fuoco e il racconto, Nottetempo 2014.
  • W. Benjamin, Über den Begriff der Geschichte (1942) in Gesammelte Schriften, Suhrkamp 1974.
  • W. Benjamin, Urpsrung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1928), in Gesammelte Schriften, Suhrkamp 1974.
  • G. Deleuze, “Un nouvel archiviste”, capitolo in Foucault, Minuit, 1986.
  • M. Foucault, Les mots et les choses. Une archéologie des sciences humaines, Gallimard 1966.
  • M. Foucault, L’archeologie du savoir, Gallimard 1969.
  • M. Foucault, «Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire» (1971), in Dits et Écrits, vol. II, Gallimard 1994.
  • M. Foucault, L’herménetique du sujet (1981-82), Seuil, Paris 2001.
  • F. Nietzsche, Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben, Fritzsch 1874.
  • F. Nietzsche, Zur genealogie der Moral. Eine Streitschrift, Naumann 1887.



Tuesdays, between 11.00 and 13.00, Sala Seminari

8 November

29 November

13 December

17 January

7 February

21 February

7 March

28 March

11 April

9 May


11 November 2016
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