NeMLA 2022 Panel -- Care, Knowledge, and Subjectivity: Foucault’s Epimeleia

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Marina Malli / SUNY Binghamton
contact email: 

**Deadline extended**

This panel seeks to explore the contemporary uses of the Greek “care” or epimeleia particularly in ways enabled by Michel Foucault’s analysis of the notion connecting to (self)knowledge, subjectivity, and mode of life.


Towards the last years of his life, Michel Foucault turned towards Ancient Greece to talk about governmentality. In this exploration, he placed great importance on the notion of “care” or epimeleia which he linked to Socratic philosophy. The “care of the self” (epimeleia heautou) does not refer to a selfish or individualistic care of the self, but to a care that reaches out to others. It is the care of the self, for the care of others, for the wellbeing of the community.

The importance of epimeleia becomes more pronounced as Foucault argues that the Socratic principle of “know thyself” (gnōthi seauton) that is commonly associated with knowing and telling the truth is in fact part of the notion of epimeleia heautou. Self-knowledge and self-care are intimately connected in Greek philosophy. In other words, ways of knowing become intricately connected to modes of being as caring for the self.

Scholars have used Foucault’s rendition of the care of the self to talk about the subject’s rendition of itself, such as, notably, José Esteban Muñoz in his Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, who argues that “minoritarian subject’s care of the self, to work on oneself is to veer away from models of the self that correlate with socially prescribed identity narratives” (145). For Muñoz, thus, performances that disidentify with normative notions of identity can be understood through this lens of self-knowledge and self-work that Foucault perceived in epimeleia.


This panel, thus, seeks to further the discussion of epimeleia as it pertains to contemporary modes of being.


NeMLA's 53rd Annual Convention will take place on March 10-13, 2022 in Baltimore, MD. 

Keynote Speaker: Judith Butler.


Please submit a 200-300 word abstract and a short bio.

Abstracts accepted now through Oct 15, 2021. (Membership is not required to submit abstracts.)

Abstracts must be submitted through the NeMLA online portal:


For more information on submitting an abstract online, see

For questions about the panel, please contact Marina Malli (