Precis--Sarah Knoth

Michael Foucault’s introduction of The Archaeology of Knowledge is about the origins of history making and telling and what history has now become or will become. Throughout the piece, there seems to be a bit of a tug-o-war between the new and the old definitions of history. Foucault concentrated on transformations: “…the problem is no longer one of tradition, of tracing a line, but one of division, of limits; it is no longer one of lasting foundations, but one of transformations that serve as new foundations, the rebuilding of foundations” (5). This shows me that Foucault means to say that the repetition of history is extinct in that we need not focus on re-telling the old foundations but we need new foundations and to rebuild the old ones. With this in mind, Foucault says that some questions arise---he questions science, theory, a concept, and even a text (5). He continues to say that documents need to be “reconstituted” because the documents of the old history may not be telling the truth, he questions the sincerity and whether or not history was “deliberately misleading” (6). Finally, Foucault talks about discontinuity and how the new history will transform it into a “positive element” (9).

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