46 pages 1 hour read

Michel Foucault

The History of Sexuality: Volume 1

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1976

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Cultural Context: Criticisms of Foucault’s Personal Life

Michel Foucault was a highly regarded French philosopher in the 20th century. His works have been studied around the world, and he is lauded as a master scholar. As of 2017, Foucault has been cited in academic papers and university textbooks more than one million times. Throughout his career, Foucault was a strong advocate for gay rights and sexual liberation. The philosopher was open about his relationships with members of the same sex and spent more than 20 years of his life with his partner Daniel Defert. His multi-volume study of the political and social histories of sexuality became a foundation for future critical theory. The History of Sexuality influenced queer theory, feminist theory, poststructuralism, postmodernism, and historicism. However, the philosopher’s thesis is undercut by a complicated personal sexual history and allegations of misconduct that have caused a divide in the academic community: Some academics dismiss Foucault’s intellectual contributions based on the allegations that have been made, and others dismiss the allegations as anti-gay bias.

The allegations against Foucault are complex, and there is not a clear-cut understanding of the facts: In 1966, Foucault took a position teaching French philosophy in the North African country of Tunisia.