Aner Barzilay, PhD
Adjunct Faculty in History
Topics in Modern European History
Background and Facts
Aner Barzilay recently received his PhD in history (2019) from Yale University where he completed a dissertation on the philosophical origins of the work of Michel Foucault. As an intellectual historian of modern Europe, Aner’s research proceeds from the intersection of philosophy, history, art and critical theory in order to explore how many of the key premises from the modern philosophy of history continue to resonate in contemporary thought.
In his dissertation, Michel Foucault’s First Philosophy: A Nietzschean End to Metaphysics in Postwar France, 1952-1984 (awarded the Hans Gatzke Prize), Aner provided a revisionist reading of Foucault’s oeuvre by identifying Foucault’s early reading of Friedrich Nietzsche from the 1950s as the key to Foucault’s philosophical project. Aner argues that Foucault followed Nietzsche’s maxim to substitute history for metaphysics, and that in so doing Foucault was consequently forced to reckon with the historical emergence and philosophical significance of modern historicity. Aner’s work is grounded in substantial archival research and is based on his extensive research in Foucault’s personal archive in France (opened in 2014), which Aner was one of the first scholars to consult with the permission of Foucault’s heirs.
In addition to transforming his dissertation into a monograph, Aner is now preparing an article based on his doctoral dissertation for a Foucault-themed issue of the journal Theory, Culture and Society. His latest chapter on Foucault’s early reading of Marx was recently published in the collected volume Foucault, Neoliberalism and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).