PHIL 327(F) Foucault: Power, Bodies, Pleasures (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 327) (W)

Anglo-American feminist appropriations of the work of French poststructuralist Michel Foucault have resulted in pathbreaking and provocative social and cultural criticism. Original analyses of anorexia nervosa, masculinity and femininity, sexual desire and identity, and rape law have been developed from this collaboration. Of course, the feminist reception of Foucault has not been uncritical. Many have argued that Foucault's analysis of power and subjection is nihilistic, normatively confused, and pessimistic. Others point to the gender-blind nature of his inquiries and to the allegedly masculinist features of his emphasis on pleasure and power and his later turn to a virile Greek ethics. This course begins with a brief introduction to some of Foucault's early writings but focuses on a close reading of middle and late texts that have become central to feminist debates about the significance of his work; i.e., Discipline and Punish, The History of Sexuality (Vols. I-III), Herculine Barbin, and selected interviews and lectures. We examine debates about Foucault as well as uses of his critical and genealogical tools in an effort to assess the value of his work for emancipatory politics. Requirements: weekly critical essays or outlines and three 5- to 7-page papers. Prerequisite: Philosophy 101 or 102 or 201 or Women's and Gender Studies 101 or permission of instructor.