9623 - Bodies, Power, Sex and Species [C] - Matthew Rowlinson
Foucault begins his treatment of biopower in the late lectures by highlighting the concept of species: “starting from the 18th century, modern Western societies took on board the fundamental biological fact that human beings are a species. This is. . . what I have called bio-power.” This course will stage what might be called a missed encounter between Foucault, Freud, and Darwin—Foucault being largely silent about Darwin, and having a vexed and problematic relation to Freud. The relation of Freud’s work to Darwin’s, largely invisible in current scholarship, will also be a topic. Briefly, the course will show how since Darwin, discourses of speciation—including the discourse of race--and sexuality have been inextricably conjoined. We will trace this conjuncture as it shapes Freud’s work, and we will use Foucault to see how the concepts of species, race, and sex as they emerge in Freud and Darwin implant in the living body points of attachment for power. The course readings will comprise selections from Foucault’s History of Sexuality vol 1, and the volumes of lectures at the College de France; from Freud, the early writings on hysteria and sexuality, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, at least one of the case histories, and possibly some of the anthropological writings, and from Darwin The Origin of Species and selections from The Descent of Man and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Besides the three central figures, the course may include some readings from contemporary writers on biopower, such as Agamben, or on pre-Darwinian theorists of species, such as Lamarck or Cuvier.
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