Stoler (Kat)

Here, Stoler is discussing what she sees as an oversight in Foucault’s book The History of Sexuality: that of racism. It seems to her (and to me) that the only form of racism that really concerned Foucault was that of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, the “Final Solution” (28) of purging all but the one superior race. This is discouraging, to say the least, because racism ran rampant through 19th century culture. However, as Stoler points out, this “normal” racism (my term, not hers) was embedded in the societal frame of the day. Class and race were intertwined, so tightly, that to discuss one was to acknowledge the other—or so it seems in Foucault.

However, as Stoler says, “If the connections among sexuality, race, and biopower outlined above seem only loosely articulated it is because in Foucault’s story they remain so. He links racism and the technologies of sexuality directly to biopower, without linking racism and sexuality explicitly to each other” (35).  However, these two areas should be linked, as they are both ways of oppressing and judging those deemed to be “other” even now. Since this repression would have been even more prevalent when Foucault wrote, to have not mentioned the link between racism and sexuality more clearly is a large oversight on Foucault’s part. “Both dealt with the burden of normality and its biological technologies,” says Stoler, and I agree.

One thought on “Stoler (Kat)

  1. alexislothian

    It’s interesting that you use the word “repression,” about which Foucault has so much to say, in connecting Stoler’s analysis of race to what Foucault leaves out. Does thinking about race and empire challenge Foucault’s critique of the repressive hypothesis? And/or are his ideas about biopower easily transferred into discussions of racial and colonial power and discourse?


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