Two weeks on Foucault for Critical Theory Seminar in Comp Lit

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Foucault on Sexual Identity and Sexual Experience

 

Foucault’s late works on sexuality have instigated divergent applications and a lively debate over the questions of identity and experience from theorists such as David Halperin, Gayle Rubin, Arnold Davidson, and others. New work by Johanna Oksala, Ladelle McWhorter, and Eric Paras has opened up the debates further. Central questions concern the status of minority sexualities, their relationship to social identity, the nature of experience in relation to discourse, and the relationship between normalization and moral evaluation of sexual practices. This segment will discuss some of the recent work and explore what is at issue in these debates. These topics helpfully intersect queer theory, feminist theory, and continental philosophy. 

 

Foucault: I will assume History of Sexuality Vols 1, 2 and 3 will have been read by most students as background.

Readings:

Foucault: The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-1982 – selections tba

Deleuze: “Desire and Pleasure”

Timothy O’Leary: “Rethinking Experience with Foucault” (in Foucault and Philosophy)

Jana Sawicki: “Foucault, Queer Theory, and the Discourse of Desire” (in Foucault and Philosophy ed. O’Leary and Falzon)

Johanna Oksala: “Anarchic bodies” and “Female Freedom” from her book Foucault on Freedom

Leo Bersani: “The Gay Daddy” (in Homos)