Paul-Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers and attended the elite then the École Normale Supérieure. His first major book, Madness and Civilization, was published in 1961. He taught at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, and in 1969 bcame Professor of the History of Systems of Thought at the prestigious Collège de France, a position he held until his death. He also lectured at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Berkeley.
Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions and his work on the history of human sexuality.