Communication and Culture | Reading the Text (Foucault's History of Sexuality, Vol. 1)
C636 | 28176 | Simons, J
CMCL-C 636: Reading the Text
(Topic: Foucaultís History of Sexuality, Vol. 1)
Class Number: 28176
Th, 4:00 PM-6:30 PM, C2 272
Meets with CULS-C 701
Open to Graduates Only!
Instructor: Jon Simons
Office: C2 239
Many of the disciplines in the humanities, including rhetorical
analysis and criticism, rely on honed skills of close readings of a
variety of texts. This seminar aims to develop studentsí skills of
close reading by focusing on a book which is frequently returned to
in the humanities and about which a good deal of secondary
commentary has been written, some of which will also be studied in
the seminar. The text is Michel Foucaultís History of Sexuality,
Vol. 1. The text will be read with attention to style and poetics as
well as the logic of argument, form as well as content. The text
will also be considered in its context, understood as a rhetorical
intervention in an intellectual dialogue. In assessments, students
will practice explication, historical contextualization, stylistic
analysis and critical engagement.
A semester long study of this text will enable us to consider some
or all of the following themes addressed by this deceptively short
book: power (as productive) and in relation to liberation and
resistance; biopower; power as the constitution of subjects;
particular practices and techniques of biopwer Ė confession,
division, surveillance; sexuality Ė itís discursive construction
through scientific-medical discourses; ab/normal sexuality; queer
studies and gay activism.
Assignments and Grading
There are 2 options for assignments and grading for this seminar.
Option A is aimed at those of you who intend to focus your work in
this seminar on a final research paper, with the aim of working it
up into a conference paper and/or publishable journal article.
Option B is for those of you who prefer a wider variety of
assignments. (continued on next page)
1) Seminar leadership and participation. 10%.
2) Close reading exercise: 1,000 words. 10%
3) Paper proposal: 10%
4) Literature review essay: 2,000 words. 15%.
5) Paper presentation. 15%
6) Seminar paper: approx. 6-7,000 words, an essay on a
significant interpretative issue related to the text. 40%
1) Seminar leadership and participation. 20%.
2) Close reading exercises: 1,000 words each. 10% each. 20%
3) Mid-semester position paper: 2-3,000 words. 20%
4) Book review: 20%
5) Literature review essay: 2,000 words. 20%