Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 January 2013
When historians first think of Michel Foucault, they think of the history of discipline, of prisons, asylums, and hospitals, and of the medical profession. These topics have become more central now to the historical enterprise than ten or twenty years ago. Yet they are discussed less in the German-speaking world than in the Anglo-American or French. Since Foucault's work contributed greatly to fostering interest in these subjects, it is interesting to examine Foucault's reception by German historians. Beyond specific interest in certain subjects the analysis of this reception might tell us more about the fundamental assumptions of German historiography.
My discussion of the reception of Foucault is broken down into three parts. First, I compare the German with the international reception and describe the historian s role in it. I then analyze the arguments historians put forward in reviews of Foucault's books, focusing on central topics of this work in the history of criminal justice and discipline and less on mental asylums and hospitals in early modern and modern times. Then I present examples of how German historians appropriated Foucault.