Professor Nancy Luxon joined the faculty at Minnesota after two years at the University of Chicago’s Society of Fellows. Her work in contemporary political and social theory concentrates on questions of power, subjectivity, and speech and has been published in Inquiry, Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, PS, and Perspectives, with work recently published in Theory, Culture, and Society. Her first book, Crisis of Authority (Cambridge UP, 2013), draws on Sigmund Freud and Michel Foucault to consider political authority as a process in which individuals learn to author themselves, and so come to engage differently in political contest.

She recently edited the first English translation for Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault's Disorderly Families (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), and her companion scholarly volume, Archives of Infamy (2019) draws on that volume to offer a new reading of power, agency, and the event. She also has edited Foucault's Berkeley lectures from the 1980s, which are published as Discourse and Truth (University of Chicago, 2019). In 2017-18 she served as co-PI (with Robert Nichols and Jean O'Brien) of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar, The Politics of Land.

Two dimensions animate her current research: the analysis of the politics of ordinary people, and, second, the analysis of the politics of anti-colonial struggle in North Africa and France. The politics of ordinary people analyzes how our orienting political and moral principles shift when we self-consciously theorize from the perspective of the marginalized such as those incarcerated (as in "Disordering Discourse") or those protesting gendered violence (as in "Switchpoints of Power"). In Luxon's work on anti-colonial struggle, she has written alternately about Fanon's psychiatric hospital as a waystation for world-building projects; about the anticolonial resisters who worked as informants for the French police; and the intersections of psychology and politics that define subjectivity in colonial and postcolonial societies. 

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D: Political Science, University of California, 2005


  • contemporary political and social theory
  • French political thought
  • literary theories of narrative
  • psychoanalysis and psychiatry (in western and colonial contexts)
  • anti-colonial struggle in French North Africa