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Emergence of Sexuality: Foucault, Sexual Identities, and the Modern Self


In his groundbreaking study, The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, philosopher and historian Michel Foucault provocatively argued that the thing we call sexuality, the supposed essence of our sexual core, our desires, our selves, is in fact “a name that can be given to a historical construct.” In this Olio, we will discuss the significance of Foucault’s claim that sexuality is not an essential and fixed quality inherent to our being, but rather the result of historical shifts in power and knowledge. We will examine how and why it is we have come to think of sexuality as a “problem of truth,” as a secret to be revealed. 

We will look closely at the philosopher’s controversial claim that at the very moment we imagine sexuality as being repressed, driven under, made to hide, it was indeed “exploding,” “inciting,” and proliferating unto every aspect of human experience. We will also ask ourselves about the value of Foucault’s work for challenging our own ideas about our personal desires, our identity categories, and our cherished notions of the self.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.


Other upcoming Olios


Aug 22

The Wisdom of Pop Culture

Taught by Geoff Klock
6:15 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $15

Aug 28

"I'll Play it First" - An Immersive Listening of Bitches Brew

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Aug 31

Selective Histories: Memory, Aesthetics, & Urban Art

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Sep 7

Should I Kill Myself or Have a Cup of Coffee?

Taught by Olio Happy Hour
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Sep 14

OlioHouse Launch | Eros: The Bittersweet

Taught by Jamie Warren
11:30 a.m. at OlioHouse

Sign Up - $60

Sep 21

Time, Desire, and Action: Ramayana and The Cosmic Game

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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