Elisabetta Basso

Elisabetta Basso

dates de séjour

01/10/2016 - 31/07/2017






Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Rethinking Anthropology in the light of Phenomenology and Psychopathology. Michel Foucault’s 1950s Manuscripts (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)

The proposed research aims to explore and analyze the archives of Michel Foucault that have been collected in 2013 at the manuscripts department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris [NAF 28730]. This investigation intends to focus on the documents of the 1950s [see the list provided in the detailed project] in order to study the role of the reflection on anthropology and phenomenology at the beginning of Foucault’s philosophical path.


These archives comprise reading notes, notes for the courses, and the preparatory manuscripts of the courses. The analysis of the reading notes will enable us to shed light on the bibliographical sources and the authors, which drew the attention of the young philosopher at the beginning of his intellectual activity. Furthermore, these notes offer a privileged observation point on Foucault’s working method. This kind of archival material will also allow us to discover the tremendous work that is on the basis of the relatively few works that Foucault published in the 1950s. Until now the researchers have been unable to understand the seemingly sharp and contradictory break that divides these works from the works published by Foucault in the 1960s and the 1970s, in which emerges the archaeological refusal of phenomenology and anthropology, as well as the strong criticism against any form of psychopathological discourse. The access to the documents of the 1950s will enable us at last to investigate the reasons of this outward break and to better understand the development and the evolution of Foucault’s theoretical concerns.


The preparatory manuscripts of the courses given by Foucault at the University of Lille (1952-54) are particularly important in this regard. The proposed research will give a special emphasis to the manuscript entitled: “Cours sur la phénoménologie et Binswanger”. In fact, this manuscript seems to have been planned and written as an autonomous book, to the point that we could make the hypothesis that it is the presumed never-written work to which Foucault refers in a yearbook of the University of Lille of the beginning of the 1950s, where he put on the list of his works a book “already in press” on “Psychiatrie et analyses existentielle”. This particular example shows that these archives need not only to be analyzed from a scientific and philosophical standpoint, but still need to be explored, organized, classified. Now, this can be done only by someone who also has a thorough knowledge of Foucault’s work.