Thu, Jul 11 at 7 p.m. | 90 minutes
*This Olio will conclude with a 20 min set of classical music from a Groupmuse musician.*
Foucault’s History of Sexuality challenged our most precious ideals of sex, identity, and the self, and exposed the absurdity of searching for sexual liberation by discovering the “truth” of one’s soul. This seminal work still stands as a classic among scholars of queer theory, feminism, and historians of sexuality, nearly fifty years after its publication. Yet, few seem to take note of the centrality of death—both literal and symbolic death—at the core of Foucault’s argument.
Indeed, even my past Olio lectures stop just short of truly grappling with his death hypothesis. Let’s kill this tradition together by going deep into the final pages of this perplexing book, and wrestle hard with its most intriguing ideas. Please join us for an Olio dedicated to exploring and understanding why a book focused on the historical invention of sexuality concludes with a chapter titled “Right of Death and Power Over Life.”
We will explore what Foucault meant when he argued that modern society has replaced the “symbolics of blood” with an “analytics of sexuality.” Finally, we will learn what it means to enter history by exiting nature.
*Note: No familiarity with Foucault or this book is needed. Your curiosity is all that you need to follow along and join in the discussion.
Jamie Warren has a Ph.D. in American History from Indiana University, and she is an Assistant Professor at BMCC-CUNY where she teaches American history, the history of women and gender, and women’s studies. Her research focuses on slavery in antebellum South with a particular focus on death, the body, and the philosophy of history.