Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography

David M. Halperin, Author
David M. Halperin, Author Oxford University Press, USA $27.5 (256p) ISBN 978-0-19-509371-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-19-511127-9
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That French philosopher Foucault, who died from AIDS-related illness in 1984, continues to influence gay activism and theory without ever having explicitly endorsed such activism or given sustained attention to homosexuality is the paradox that Halperin, a professor of literature at MIT, confronts in this demanding, eloquent and caustic book. Halperin offers close readings of Foucault's thought, forging a link between its characterization of political resistance as a creative process and gay politics. The goal of activism, then, is not reform but resistance; the retrieval of the word ``queer'' and its empowering use by gays and lesbians is one such example. Halperin closes the book with analyses of Foucault's biographers, singling out for blistering attack James Miller, whose Passion of Michel Foucault (1993), Halperin argues, epitomizes the disingenuous ways in which ``mainstream'' accounts of gay culture play upon the very homophobia they purportedly wish to illuminate. Photos. (July)
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