Journals Higher Education



Published: 06 February 1997

256 Pages | 5 halftones

5-5/16 x 8 inches

ISBN: 9780195111279

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (06)

Saint Foucault

Towards a Gay Hagiography

David M. Halperin

Although there is scarcely more than a passing mention of homosexuality in Michel Foucault's scholarly writing he became, after dying of AIDS in 1984, a powerful source of both personal and political inspiration to an entire generation of gay activists. As such, he has acquired mainstream detractors who have systematically distorted and misrepresented this crucial intellectual figure.
David M. Halperin's Saint Foucault is an uncompromising and impassioned defense of the late French philosopher and historian. Despite Foucault's statement that his work "had nothing to do with gay liberation," the book portrays him as a galvanizing thinker whose career as a theorist and activist will continue to serve as a model for other gay intellectuals. Halperin argues that his decision to treat sexuality not as a biological or psychological drive but as the product of modern systems of knowledge and power represents a crucial political breakthrough for lesbians and gay men. Foucault's radical vision of homosexuality as a strategic opportunity for self-transformation is shown to have anticipated the new brand of sexual identity politics practiced by contemporary action groups such as ACT UP.
Pointing to the withering scrutiny of Foucault by such commentators as Camille Paglia, Richard Mohr, Bruce Bawer, Roger Kimball, and biographer James Miller, Saint Foucault forcefully illustrates the continuing personal, professional, and scholarly vulnerability of all gay activists and intellectuals in the age of AIDS.


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