Lecture 3 - The Science of Sexuality

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University College Courses
Scott Rayter

Sept 25 – The Science of Sexuality Foucault: 2 processing knowledge about sex: 1. Ars erotica: Erotic arts; truth to be found in sexual pleasure and in experience itself (Ex: karmsutra) 2. Scientia Sexualis: A science of sex; Western European; sex as a source of power & knowledge and a site of them confessional science - Not about what’s pleasure but what’s permissible The Ascent of Medical Authority - Part of the Enlightenment project (movement away from religion) - Growing trust in medicine and that its practitioners were rational, truthful, & objective - Germ Theory: disease not spontaneous but caused by a pathogen (microorganism) - Psychiatrists trying to find biological reasons for why people went insane (mostly because of suffialis) (colonial) - Their role in courts: judging who was sane & who is not (How does somebody get to be credible? What is the relationship between disclose and power?) Theories of Homosexuality 1. Naturalism: homosexuality as inborn, but benign; sexual inversion (Eavelock Ellis, Magnus Hirscfeld, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs) 2. Degeneration: evolutionary decline (Krafft-Ebling) a) Homosexuality as regressive: moving down the evolutionary ladder; homosexuals as arrested at a more primitive stage of evolutionary development; uncivilized; more animalistic b) Homosexuality as over-civilized; a by-product of modern urban life; decadent; urban; “soft” 3. Psychogenesis & Psychoanalysis (Freud): not about biology; homosexuality as a perversion ⇒ Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) - Psyschopathia Sexualis - Movement from the asylum to forensic psychiatry (medical causes of crime) - Written for lawyers and doctors to use for the assessments of people - Homosexuality as a pathological weakness & not a conscious choice - Used case histories; included the voices of the patients themselves; homosexuality then appears as a patterned narrative, or script, not a personality trait – read themselves, made of 35 case piece people ⇒ Steven Maynard - How did law and medicine work together to transform men and their homosexual activities into case histories? They would look at the skulls or brain to find something about you. - How did the case history help to bring the homosexual into existence? (Doctors, social workers reports = becomes a type of person) - What agency did the men in these case histories assert? What is the relationship between discourse and the material? Theories of Lesbianism • Essentialist theories of gender & sexuality: men and women are biologically different so that explains why they are different • Women are not part of this disclosure (mostly men who are doctors) • Beliefs about women: women are naturally passive, don’t have a sexuality (act of
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