Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 19.5 (Michel Foucault)

Foucault, Michel
The History of Sexuality,
Volume Two

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books. I have yet to read this volume. Not sure why -- probably bought it in grad school but had ten other books to read at the same time. I am about halfway through volume one again, so maybe this time I'll just read on through to the end. Or maybe I won't.

I had a dream last night that someone published to Facebook a whole series of photographs of Foucault and other University at Buffalo faculty members during the year (or semester or whatever it was) he taught there in the 70's. I didn't recognize any of the professors, even though I knew who they were. Foucault, oddly, was not at the center of any of these photos. He sat in a chair in the second row of three, slightly to the left. All I could see was his head. He had a big smile on his face. I remember thinking I liked his glasses but that he had an ugly smile. There was some anxiety in the dream b/c the publication of the photos to FB had been falsely attributed to me.

Time's short this morning, so we'll just cut right to the excerpt.

from The History of Sexuality, Volume Two

How does a man enjoy his pleasure "as he ought"? To what principles does he refer in order to moderate, limit, regulate that activity? What sort of validity might these principles have that would enable a man to justify his having to obey them? Or, in other words, what is the mode of subjection that is implied in this moral problematization of sexual conduct?


Chris said...

Courtesans and Fishcakes is an excellent rebuttal to this book (which, admittedly, I haven't read; I've only read vol. 1), basically showing how Foucault didn't actually look at the historical evidence but just went with mainstream memes about Greek life and sexuality because it suited his purpose to. It's a great academic tear-down and an interesting look at Greek sexuality.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Thanks, Chris --