Panopticon in Poona: An Essay on Foucault and Colonialism

Peer Reviewed

Essay Excerpt

When British rule began in western India in 1818, administrator Mountstuart Elphinstone used questionnaires to inquire into local "custom" and decided to build a panopticon prison in Poona. In light of Foucault's concept of panopti- cism, we can see Elphinstone's inquiry as a subtle exercise in knowledge and power. Yet more can be said of this colonial project if we turn from Foucault's analysis of European states to take colonies seriously as a historically specific polity form that specifies difference-here inferiorizing temporal difference- to govern. Thinking about Elphinstone, and Foucault, what might we learn about narratives of difference and historical trajectory? (85)

Kaplan, Martha. "Panopticon in Poona: An Essay on Foucault and Colonialism." Cultural Anthropology 10.1(1995): 85–98.

Post a Comment

Please log in or register to comment