The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume 1

by: Michel Foucault

Suggested Essay Topics

What is Foucault's genealogical method? How does he use it in this book? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Do you agree with the conclusions he draws from it?

What are the main features of the "juridico-discursive" conception of power? What about this conception does Foucault disagree with?

What is distinctive about Foucault's conception of power? How does he use it to overturn older notions about the history of sexuality (e.g. the repressive hypothesis)?

What is the distinction between the "deployment of sexuality" and the "deployment of alliance"? How have the two been related, and how have they evolved together since the seventeenth century?

What reading does Foucault give to the history of sexuality? How would you evaluate it? Does it fit the historical facts? Does it interpret them in a reasonable way?

What is "power over life"? Do you agree with Foucault that this is how power manifests itself today? Can you feel its influence in your own life?

What does it means to say that "sex" and "sexuality" are social constructs? What ideas does this assertion contradict?