Michael C. Behrent
I earned my doctorate at New York University, where I defended a dissertation entitled "Society Incarnate: Association, Society, and Religion in French Political Thought, 1825-1912." It examines the ways in which nineteenth-century republican and socialist thinkers drew upon religious discourse to speculate about how a post-corporate and post-revolutionary society might foster robust social bonds. Debates about religion, I argue, become an important terrain for assessing the respective weight a modern political order should assign to the claims of "individualism" as opposed to those of "society."
In addition to nineteenth-century political philosophy, I am also interested in recent French political thought. In particular, I am working on a project that examines the role played by Michel Foucault played in ushering in the "liberal turn" in French thought during the 1970s.
"Pluralism's Political Conditions: Social Realism and the Revolutionary Tradition in Pierre Leroux, P.-J. Proudhon and Alfred Fouillée," in Julian Wright and Stuart Jones, eds., Pluralism and the Idea of the Republic in France (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012).
"The Genealogy of Genealogy: Foucault’s 1970-1971 Course on The Will to Know," Foucault Studies 13 (2012) (available online here).
“Accidents Happen: François Ewald, the 'Antirevolutionary' Foucault, and the Intellectual Politics of the French Welfare State,” Journal of Modern History (2010).
"Liberalism without Humanism: Michel Foucault and the Free-Market Creed, 1976-1979," Modern Intellectual History, (2009).
“A Seventies Thing: On the Limits of Foucault’s Neoliberalism Course for Understanding the Present,” in Samuel Binkley and Jorge Capetillo, ed., A Foucault for the 21st Century: Governmentality, Biopolitics and Discipline in the New Millennium (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).
"The Mystical Body of Society: Religion and Association in Nineteenth-Century French Political Thought," (505 KB pdf) Journal of the History of Ideas (2008).
"Le débat Guyau-Durkheim sur la théorie sociologique de la religion. Une nouvelle querelle des universaux?" Archives de sciences sociales des religions (2008).
"Religion, Republicanism, and Depoliticization: Two Intellectual Itineraries—Régis Debray and Marcel Gauchet," in Julian Bourg, ed., After the Deluge: New Perspectives on the Intellectual and Cultural History of Postwar France (Lexington Books, 2004), 325-349.
Winner of the Rennie W. Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in First Year Seminar for 2012.
Winner of the Chester Penn Higby Prize, awarded by the Modern European History section of the American Historical Association for the best article appearing in the Journal of Modern History over a two-year period (2009-2010, for “Accidents Happen”).