Literature Study GuidesHistory Of Sexuality

History of Sexuality | Study Guide

Michel Foucault

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Course Hero. "History of Sexuality Study Guide." Course Hero. 12 Apr. 2019. Web. 20 Apr. 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/History-of-Sexuality/>.

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Course Hero. (2019, April 12). History of Sexuality Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/History-of-Sexuality/

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Course Hero. "History of Sexuality Study Guide." April 12, 2019. Accessed April 20, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/History-of-Sexuality/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "History of Sexuality Study Guide," April 12, 2019, accessed April 20, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/History-of-Sexuality/.

Overview

Author

Michel Foucault

Years Published

1976–84

Type

Nonfiction

Genre

History, Nonfiction

At a Glance

Foucault's last great work is a multivolume effort to trace the origins of the modern concept of sexuality. In Volume 1 Foucault uses texts from modern Western history to challenge the idea of successive eras of sexual "repression" and "liberation." In Volumes 2 and 3, he takes a longer view, describing the sexual ethics of Golden Age Greece and Imperial Rome. A planned fourth volume, tracing the rise of medieval Christian sexual ethics, was left unfinished upon Foucault's death. The series is best known for its argument that "sexuality," as thought of today, is a socially constructed and relatively recent idea. Western civilization, Foucault shows, is not monolithic when it comes to issues of sexual ethics and identity. Instead, different cultures at different times have had their own characteristic views of what sex means, and what "proper" sexual behavior consists of.

Perspective and Narrator

Foucault presents a history of the concept of sexuality as seen from religious, ethical, and scientific perspectives. The author challenges modern views of history, claiming that past ages "repressed" sexuality and the modern era has "liberated" it. Contemporary ideas about sexuality are, Foucault asserts, socially constructed and not as obvious or "natural" as they may seem.

About the Title

Foucault presents a history of the concept of sexuality as seen from religious, ethical, and scientific perspectives. The author challenges modern views of history, claiming that past ages "repressed" sexuality and the modern era has "liberated" it. Contemporary ideas about sexuality are, Foucault asserts, socially constructed and not as obvious or "natural" as they may seem.

Summary

This study guide for Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Key Figures

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