Mad for Foucault: Rethinking the Foundations of Queer Theory

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Columbia University Press, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 344 pages

Michel Foucault was the first to embed the roots of human sexuality in discipline and biopolitics, therefore revolutionizing our conception of sex and its relationship to society, economics, and culture. Yet over the past two decades, scholars have limited themselves to the study of Foucault's History of Sexuality, volume 1 paying lesser attention to his equally explosive History of Madness. In this earlier volume, Foucault recasts Western rationalism as a project that both produces and represses sexual deviants, calling out the complicity of modern science and the exclusionary nature of family morality. By reclaiming these deft moves, Lynne Huffer teases out exciting new strands of Foucauldian thought. She then revisits the theorist's ethical work in light of these discoveries, divining an ethics of eros that sees sexuality as a lived experience we are repeatedly called on to remember. Throughout her study, Huffer weaves her own experiences together with Foucault's, sampling from unpublished interviews and other archived materials in order to intimately rework the problem of sexuality as a product of reason.

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Tackles the misconception that Foucault endorses a linear time line from acts to identities. Does so with brilliance. Devoting attention to the history of the texts in their English and French versions. Linguistically savvy and ever careful to contextualize and contrast French and Anglo-American reception. Attuned to questions of style and irony. And is itself an incarnation of an ethical style. 

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About the author (2010)

Lynne Huffer is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University and author of Are the Lips a Grave? A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex; Maternal Pasts, Feminist Futures: Nostalgia, Ethics, and the Question of Difference; and Another Colette: The Question of Gendered Writing.

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