Altering absence: From race to empire in readings of Foucault
This article will address sexuality as a medium of empire, approaching this question through the absence of empire in Foucault’s history of sexuality. This absence of empire is all the more enigmatic given that it coincides with the omnipresence of race. To that extent, I argue for an “alteration of absence” in the reading of Foucault. Acknowledging the paradoxical presence of race--perhaps even its centrality--in Foucault’s analysis of sexuality and liberalism is a necessary step to reveal the depth of another absence, that of empire and coloniality. The article discusses this blind spot in Foucault’s work, arguing that a form of racial distinction operates through sexuality.It attempts to assess how influential this “imperial absence” is to the genealogy of sexuality and race. Lastly, it also sketches some possible reconfigurations of Foucault’s theses when read in colonial or postcolonial contexts.
Abu-Lughod, Lila, Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2013
Andrews, W., and M. Kalpakli, The Age of Beloveds. Love and the Beloved in Early Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.
Bhabha, Homi, The Location of Culture. London, New York: Routledge, 1994.
Brown Givens, Sonja M., and Jennifer L. Monahan, “Priming Mammies, Jezebels, and Other Controlling Images: An Examination of the Influence of Mediated Stereotypes on Perceptions of an African American Woman,” Media Psychology 7:1 (1 February 2005), 87–106.
Brysk, Alison, Craig Parsons, and Wayne Sandholtz, “After Empire: National Identity and Post-Colonial Families of Nations,” European Journal of International Relations 8:2 (1 June 2002), 267–305.
Dakhlia, Jocelyne, “Homoérotismes et trames historiographiques du monde islamique,” Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales 62e année, 5 (1 September 2007), 1097–1120.
Doyle, Michael, Empires. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986.
El-Rouayheb, K, Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
Fiaccadori, Elisa, “State Racism and the Paradox of Biopower,” Foucault Studies 19 (June 2015): 151–171.
Foucault, Michel, Abnormal. Lectures at the Collège de France. 1974-1975. Ed. Valerio Marchetti, Antonella Salamoni, François Ewald, Alessandro Fontana, and Arnold I. Davidson. Translated by Graham Burchell. London, New York: Verso, 2003.
Foucault, Michel. Dits et Écrits 1954-1988. Ed. Daniel Defert and François Ewald. Paris: Gallimard, 1994.
Foucault, Michel. Security, Territory, Population. Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-1978. Ed. Michel Senellart, François Ewald, Alessandro Fontana, and Arnold I. Davidson. Translated by Graham Burchell. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Foucault, Michel, Society Must Be Defended. Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-1976. Ed. Mauro Bertani, Alessandro Fontana, François Ewald, and Arnold I. Davidson. Translated by David Macey. New York: Picador, 2003.
Foucault, Michel, The History of Sexuality. Volume I. An Introduction. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1978.
Givens, Sonja M. Brown and Jennifer L. Monahan, “Priming Mammies, Jezebels, and Other Controlling Images: An Examination of the Influence of Mediated Stereotypes on Perceptions of an African American Woman,” Media Psychology 7:1 (1 February 2005), 87–106,
Gordon, Colin, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977. New York: Pantheon, 1983.
Grosfoguel, Ramon, “Race and Ethnicity or Racialized Ethnicities? Identities within Global Coloniality,” Ethnicities 4:3 (1 September 2004), 315–336.
Hoelscher, Steven, “Making Place, Making Race: Performances of Whiteness in the Jim Crow South,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93:3 (1 September 2003): 657–686.
Hortonéda, Jeanine, “Sécurité, territoire, population et Naissance de la biopolitique de Michel Foucault Contrechamp, “ Empan 59:3 (1 September 2005), 61–70.
Massad, Joseph, Desiring Arabs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
McClintock, Anne, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. New York: Routledge, 1995.
Najmabadi, Afsaneh, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards : Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. Berkeley/Londres: University of California Press, 2005.
Puar, Jasbir K., Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Duke University Press, 2007.
Quijano, Aníbal, “Colonialidad Del Poder Y Clasificación Social,” Journal of World-Systems Research VI, 2 (Summer/Fall 2000), 342–386.
Rabinow, Paul, and Nikolas Rose, “Biopower Today,” BioSocieties 1 (2006), 195–217.
Said, Edward Wadie. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Knopf, 1993.
Said, Edward Wadie. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon, 1978.
Said, Edward Wadie. Reflections on Exile and Other Literary and Cultural Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Samaddar, Ranabir, “Lire Foucault À L’ère Post-Coloniale,” Actuel Marx 47:1 (2010), 165. https://doi.org/10.3917/amx.047.0165.
Steinmetz, George, “The Sociology of Empires, Colonies, and Postcolonialism,” Annual Review of Sociology 40:1 (2014), 77–103.
Stoler, Ann Laura, “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusions in Colonial Southeast Asia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 34:03 (1992), 514–551.
Stoler, Ann Laura, “Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th Century Colonial Cultures," in Imperial Monkey Business: Racial Supremacy in Social Darwinist Theory and Colonial Practice, by Jane Breman Amsterdam: Vu University Press, 1990.
Stoler, Ann Laura, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power. Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002.
Stoler, Ann Laura, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
Stoler, Ann Laura. Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
Ticktin, Miriam, “Sexual Violence as the Language of Border Control: Where French Feminist and Anti‐immigrant Rhetoric Meet,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33:4 (June 2008), 863–889.
Young, Robert J. C. Postcolonialism. A Historical Introduction. Malden, Ma: Blackwell, 2001.
Ze’evi, Dror. Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle East, 1500-1900. Berkeley/London: University of California Press, 2005.
Copyright (c) 2019 Claire Cosquer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright to their work, but assign the right of the first publication to Foucault Studies. The work is subject to a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license, but despite these restrictions, authors can take for granted that Foucault Studies will permit articles published in Foucault Studies to be translated or reprinted in another format such as a book providing a full reference is made to Foucault Studies as the original place of publication.