PICK ONE: (Total word limit 1500)
what ways does Willa Cather’s (1905) short story Paul’s Case bear out
Foucault’s (1978) argument in The History of Sexuality, Volume 1?
Illustrate with reference to the text.
(aka how does Willa
Cather’s (1905) short story Paul’s Case support Foucault’s (1978) argument in The
History of Sexuality, Volume 1?)
See Week 2 Materials/ Readings
link for this question: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willa_Cather
sexual and gender identities depend for their coherence and stability on the
repudiation of a marked, abject other – a devalued category which forms
the ‘constitutive outside’ of the normative identity. Illustrate with
reference to everyday discourses that surround a sexual or gender identity of
discusses how popular cultural representations ‘perform heterosexuality … in
such remorseless, crazed and alarmed modes that they suggest heterosexuality is
indeed on a hiding to nothing in its assertion of its own naturalness and
normality’ (1997, p. 272). Discuss, with reference to the context of
Dyer’s argument and a cultural representation of your choice (taken from film,
TV, popular media, fiction, etc.).
See Week 3 Materials/ Readings
In a 1981
interview, Foucault remarked, ‘the disappearance of friendship as a social
relation and the declaration of homosexuality as a social/political/medical
problem are the same process’. How does the problematization of
(homo)sexuality limit the possibilities of friendship? Illustrate with
reference to examples of your choice.
on my brief research for this question, I think the
interview was actually conducted in 1982.
Ive attached another document called Help with Q4 that
is of an article called 30-Friends which might help to answer
is a section of dialogue I copied from the interview
with Foucault (M.F.)
with questions asked from an interviewee (Q) on
the topic of Sex, Power, and the Politics of Identity Page 170 – 171
text in link below: https://monoskop.org/images/0/00/Foucault_Michel_Ethics_Subjectivity_and_Truth.pdf
o Q. You mentioned in an
interview in Gai Pied a year or two ago that what upsets people most about gay
relations is not so much sexual acts per se but the potential for affectional
relationships carried on outside the normative patterns. These friendships and
networks are unforeseen. Do you think what frightens people is the unknown
potential of gay relations, or would you suggest that these relations are seen
as posing a direct threat to social institutions?
o M.F.: One thing that
interests me now is the problem of friendship. For centuries after antiquity,
friendship was a very important kind of social relation: a social relation
within which people had a certain free-dom, certain kind of choice (limited of
course), as well as very intense emotional relations. There were also economic
and social implications to these relationships-they were obliged to help their
friends, and so on. I think that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we
see these kinds of friendships disappearing, at least in the male society. And
friendship begins to become something other than that. You can find, from the
sixteenth century on, texts that explicitly criticize friendship as something
The army, bureaucracy, administration, universities, schools, and so
on-in the modern senses of these words-cannot function with such intense
friendships. I think there can be seen a very strong attempt in all these
institutions to diminish or minimize the affectional relations. I think this is
particularly important in schools. When they started grade schools with
hundreds of young boys, one of the problems was how to prevent them not only
from having sex, of course, but also from developing friendships. For instance,
you could study the strategy of Jesuit institutions about this theme of
friendship, since the Jesuits knew very well that it was impossible for them to
suppress this. Rather, they tried to use the role of sex, of love, of
friendship, and at the same time to limit it. I think now, after studying the
history of sex, we should try to understand the history of friendship, or
friendships. That history is very, very important.
And one of my hypotheses, which I am sure would be borne out if we did
this, is that homosexuality became a problem-that is, sex between men became a
problem-in the eighteenth century. We see the rise of it as a problem with the
police, within the justice system, and so on. I think the reason it appears as
a problem, as a social issue, at this time is that friendship had disappeared.
As long as friendship was some-thing important, was socially accepted, nobody
realized men had sex together. You couldn’t say that men didn’t have sex
together-it just didn’t matter. It had no social implication; it was culturally
accepted. Whether they fucked together or kissed had no importance. Absolutely
no importance. Once friendship disappeared as a culturally accepted relation,
the issue arose: “What is going on between men?” And that’s when the
problem appears. And if men fuck together, or have sex together, that now
appears as a problem. Well, I’m sure I’m right, that the
disappearance of friendship as a social relation and the declaration of
homosexuality as a social/political/medical problem are the same process.
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