What are they? The leftmost picture is a magnification of a type of inclusion characteristic of peridot gemstones, particularly those from Arizona, they are called lily pads, although I must admit "flying saucers"comes to my mind. This picture is described and discussed in Lesson 5: "Magnification and What it Reveals". Secondly, we see part of the magnified surface of a rough diamond, the triangular markings, known as "trigons" are diagnostic to diamond. This image finds use in Lesson 5 and also in Lesson 8: "Synthetics and Simulants". Next we see a 10x magnified picture of the lid of a 1920's Art Deco cosmetic jar. It is covered with shagreen, which is a leather made from sharkskin -- an unusual, but valuable. organic material sometimes used in jewelry and ornamental items. You'll learn more about shagreen in the essay on Unusual Organics. Finally, you are seeing a view of a type of simulated emerald widely sold under the trade name "Soude" or sometimes "spinel triplet". It consists of two colorless layers of glass or white spinel with green glass or even green glue in between. In Lesson 8 we will see a view of this gem as it would appear in jewelry (perfectly uniformly green), and, as in this photo, immersed in water and photographed from the side revealing its "sandwich like"nature.
The brief and oversimplified intro to Foucault We often talk about people as if they have particular attributes as 'things' inside themselves -- they have an identity , for example, and we believe that at the heart of a person there is a fixed and true identity or character (even if we're not sure that we know quite what that is, for a particular person). We assume that people have an inner essence -- qualities beneath the surface which determine who that person really 'is'. We also say that some people have (different levels of) power which means that they are more (or less) able to achieve what they want in their relationships with others, and society as a whole. Foucault rejected this view. For Foucault, people do not have a 'real' identity within themselves; that's just a way of talking about the self -- a discourse . An 'identity' is communicated to others in your interactions with them, but this is not a fixed thing within a person. It is a shifting, temporary construction. People do not 'have' power implicitly; rather, power is a technique or action which individuals can engage in. Power is not possessed; it is exercised. And where there is power, there is always also resistance. That's a really boiled-down version of one or two big ideas that people take from Foucault's later works. Foucault developed different approaches for his different studies, but his work can be simplistically divided into 'early' Foucault, where he worked on the ways in which state power and discourses worked to constrain people, and 'later' Foucault (from the mid-1970s to his death from an AIDS-related illness in 1984), in which that idea of power as a 'thing' is broken down, and it is instead seen as a more fluid relation, a 'technique' which can be deployed. It is this latter part of his work which primarily concerns us here. Since (as I explain further in 'Why Foucault?' ) Foucault didn't really go for making clear statements of his 'argument', even some of the basic claims above are open to other people coming along and saying "I hardly think that Foucault would have wanted you to feel that he was saying that ...". But in the real world you've just got to have the courage to say " I got this from Foucault". Or just can mutter about "Foucauldian ideas" in a defensive way; you choose. Some people hide behind long words and potentially meaningless phrases when discussing French philosophers, but others feel that if you're genuinely clever you don't do that. Again: your choice. See the results of our competition to find a one-sentence definition of " technologies of the self ".