Re: Saint Foucault

On Jul 6, 5:23pm, brehkopf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Subject: Saint Foucault
> Just wondering if anyone else has read / heard about David Halperin's
> new book _Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography_. I recall some
> discussions on this forum in the past concerning the relationship
> between Foucault's being gay and his work. I'd suggest that anyone
> interested in the topic, pro or con, pick up Halperin's excellent book.
> His central aim seems to be to demonstrate how Foucault's work has
> undergirded a substantial portion of modern queer political movements --
> and he shows that queer politics has demonstrated many of the subtle
> resistances foreshadowed and reflected by Foucault's work, rather than
> relying primarily on liberatory notions that seem to drive some other
> historical/modern emancipatory movements.
> In doing so, he also shows, with perhaps less of the voyeuristic
> appeal/horror of James Miller's biography, how Foucault's queerness
> and was inspired by his theoretical work.
> That's a too short summary, even for this too short book (about the
> length of H of S, v1, ironically -- but for about $32!). My main
> interest is whether anyone else has read the book and/or would like to
> discuss it here.
> Obviously, I am sympathetic with Halperin's reading of Foucault and
> Foucault's life. (In fact I wish I'd written the book -- yep, one of
> those.) But I'd be happy also to discuss with those who are not as
> sympathetic to the queering of Foucault's work. One way or another, I
> remain convinced it's the key to understanding Foucault :)
> Any interest?
> Blaine Rehkopf
> Philosophy
> York University
> brehkopf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> --
>-- End of excerpt from brehkopf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I recently wrote a piece on the sometimes subtle presence of Sade in a number
of F.'s texts. I hit a wall in this work because I became convinced that Sade
presented me with a key, served to link his disparate projects. Coming out of
my delusional haze, however, and reflecting on the posting on Saint Foucault
(I've only read a chapter or so, so I'll keep my comment short), I wonder if
we are not asking the wrong question when we ask about the queering of F.'s
theory. I would suggest another question, and encourage others to add their
own if they like:

Does Foucault's work abide by its "queering" or does it point to the
impossibility of an epistemologico-ethico-political ground upon which ay
queer theory may rest? What is at stake in queering theories that, written by
a gay man or lesbian or not, call into question the grounds of ethicality,
grids of intelligibility and politicality?

Teresa de Lauretis, Eve Sedgewick and others use Foucauult in interesting
ways but seem to seek grounding in a work that speciffically denies the
possibility any ground they want to hang on to.
Let me say that I'm quite keen on queer theory even if it tends to fall into
trouble when it attempts to grapple with Foucault.

Penelope Ironstone-Catterall
York University
School of Social & Political Thought


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