Sodomites, witches, and Indians: Another look at Foucault’s history of sexuality, volume one




Does Foucault’s work on sexuality open toward the possibility of a genealogy of sex understood as binary anatomical and genetic sexual difference? I believe that it does. I argue that, if we take seriously work by Mark Jordan, Ann Laura Stoler, and Sylvia Federici, coupled with Foucault’s own statement at the end of HS1 that sex is not an anchor for sexuality but, rather, “a complex idea that was formed inside the deployment of sexuality” (152), the possibility of a time before sex or an elsewhere apart from sex becomes quite thinkable. Constructing such a genealogy would likely require careful research into ways in which Europeans imposed binary sex upon those they terrorized and colonized around the globe. Examples gestured toward here include the Yorùbá in Africa as well as a number of peoples of the Americas.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/01914537211042615