By David M. Halperin
"My paintings has had not anything to do with homosexual liberation," Michel Foucault reportedly advised an admirer in 1975. And certainly there's scarcely greater than a passing point out of homosexuality in Foucault's scholarly writings. So why has Foucault, who died of AIDS in 1984, develop into a strong resource of either own and political suggestion to a whole iteration of homosexual activists? And why have his political philosophy and his own lifestyles lately come less than such withering, normalizing scrutiny through commentators as different as Camille Paglia, Richard Mohr, Bruce Bawer, Roger Kimball, and biographer James Miller?
David M. Halperin's Saint Foucault is an uncompromising and impassioned safeguard of the past due French thinker and historian as a galvanizing philosopher whose occupation as a theorist and activist will proceed to function a version for different homosexual intellectuals, activists, and students. an in depth studying of either Foucault and the expanding assaults on his lifestyles and paintings, it explains why instantly liberals so usually locate in Foucault purely counsels of depression with reference to politics, while homosexual activists glance to him not just for highbrow thought but additionally for a compelling instance of political resistance. Halperin rescues Foucault from the never-ending nature-versus-nurture debate over the origins of homosexuality ("On this query i've got totally not anything to say," Foucault himself as soon as remarked) and argues that Foucault's determination to regard sexuality now not as a organic or mental force yet as an impression of discourse, because the manufactured from sleek platforms of information and tool represents an important political step forward for lesbians and homosexual males. Halperin explains how Foucault's radical imaginative and prescient of homosexuality as a strategic chance for self-transformation expected the recent anti-assimilationist, anti-essentialist model of sexual identification politics practiced by way of modern direct-action teams equivalent to ACT UP. Halperin additionally deals the 1st artificial account of Foucault's considering homosexual intercourse and the way forward for the lesbian and homosexual stream, in addition to an up to date precis of the newest paintings in queer theory.
"Where there's strength, there's resistance," Michel Foucault wrote within the heritage of Sexuality, quantity I. Erudite, biting, and strangely relocating, Saint Foucault represents Halperin's personal resistance to what he perspectives because the blatant and systematic misrepresentation of an important highbrow determine, a misrepresentation he sees as dramatic facts of the continued own, expert, and scholarly vulnerability of all homosexual activists and intellectuals within the age of AIDS.
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"My paintings has had not anything to do with homosexual liberation," Michel Foucault reportedly instructed an admirer in 1975. And certainly there's scarcely greater than a passing point out of homosexuality in Foucault's scholarly writings. So why has Foucault, who died of AIDS in 1984, develop into a robust resource of either own and political notion to a complete iteration of homosexual activists?
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Additional info for Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography
It is inspired, specifically, by a passage in TM Histary of Sexuality, Volume I, which Sedgwick quotes at the outset of her study: Silence itself ... is less the absolute limit of discourse ... than an element that functions alongside the things said.... There is no binary division to be made between what one says and what one does not say; we must try to determine the different ways of not saying such things, how those who can and those who cannot speak of them are distributed, which type of discourse is authorized, or what form of discretion is required in either case.
The logical contradictions internal to homophobic discourses give rise to a series of double binds which function-incoherently, to be sure, but nonetheless effectively and systematically-to impair the lives of lesbians and gay men. The best illustration of this phenomenon is provided by what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick has memorably called the "epistemology of the closet"42 Sedgwick has shown that the closet is an impossibly contradictory place: you can't be in it, and you can't be out of it You can't be in it because-so long as you are in the closet-you can never be certain of the extent to which you have actually succeeded in keeping your homosexuality secret; after all, one effect of being in the closet is that you are precluded from knowing whether people are treating you as straight because you have managed to fool them and they do not suspect you of being gay, or whether they are treating you as straight because they are playing along with you and enjoying the epistemological privilege that your ignorance of their knowledge affords them.
Obliterating change and mystifying its microphysical sovereignty.... In fact, Foucault's theory of power is a Spinozist conception, which has captivato>d not only Foucault himself but many of his readers who wish to go beyond Left optimism and Right pessinlism so as to justify political quietism with sophisticato>d intellectualism, at the same time wishing to appear realistic, in touch with the world of power and reality, as well as historical and antiformalistic in tht>ir bias. The trouble is that Foucault's theory has drawn a circle around itself, constituting a unique territory in which Foucault has in1prisono>d himself and oth<'rs with him ....