Germanic Languages | Colloquium
G625 | 27476 | Eva Geulen

Law and Life: Origins and Contexts of “Biopolitics”

Course Description:
In the wake of political events following the publication of Giorgio
Agamben’s book “Homo Sacer”, the term “biopolitics” has become a
central notion in theoretical and political debates. This course
offers a contextualizing introduction to this concept. We will
analyze the relevant texts in an attempt to produce a sober and
critical analysis of the term, its significance and relevance for
cultural analysis.

Course Materials:
*Required books:

Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. Sovereignty and Bare Life, Stanford
Press Paperback;

Hannah Arendt, On Revolution;

Ernst Kantoriwicz, The Kings Two Bodies

Recommended Books:

Hannah Arendt, Vita Activa;

Hans Blumenberg, Legitimacy of Modern Times

Relevant sections of the recommended books as well as all other
materials will be available as a reader prior to the beginning of


I Political Theology

-	Ernst Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies (sel.)
-	Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie I (sel.)
-	Hans Blumenberg, Legitimaet der Neuzeit (sel.)
-	Claude Lefort, Fortdauer des Theologisch-Politischen?
(english translation available?)
-	Alain Badiou, Paulus und die Begruendung des Universalismus
(english translation available?)

II The Problem of Foundation

-	Walter Benjamin, Critique of Violence
-	Carl Schmitt, Souveraenitaetslehre (sel.)
-	Hannah Arendt, Vita Activa (sel.)
-	Hannah Arendt, Novus Ordo Saeclorum in: On Revolution

III Life and Law:

-	Michel Foucault, Lecture on Biopolitics (I believe only
available in German)
-	Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer, Sovereignty and Bare Life
-	Giorgio Agamben, Lebensform

Additional Reading Suggestions:

Petra Gehring, “Was ist Biopolitik?”, 2006 (Introduction)

Rainer Maria Kiesow, Ius Sacrum: Giorgio Agamben und das nackte
Recht, in: Rechtsgeschichte. Zeitschrift des Max Planck Instituts
fuer europaeische Rechtsgeschichte 1 (2002), 56-70

Andrew Norris, Giorgio Agamben and the Politics of the Living Dead,
in Diacritics 30.4 (2000), 38-58

Anton Schuetz, Thinking the Law with and against Luhmann, Legendre,
Agamben, in: Law and Critique 11 (2000), 107-136

Martin Stingelin (ed.), Biopolitik und Rassismus, 2003

Dieter Thomae, Der Herrenlose. Gegenfigur zu Agambens Homo Sacer –
Leitfigur einer anderen Theorie der Moderne, in: Zeitschrift fuer
deutsche Philosophie 52 (2004). 965-984

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky, Homo Sacer, das blosse Leben und das Lager.
Anmerkungen zu einem erneuten Versuch der Kritik der Gewalt, in: Die
Philosophin 25 (June 2002), 95-114