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Emergence of Sexuality: Foucault, Sexual Identities, and the Modern Self


In his groundbreaking study, The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, philosopher and historian Michel Foucault provocatively argued that the thing we call sexuality, the supposed essence of our sexual core, our desires, our selves, is in fact “a name that can be given to a historical construct.” In this Olio, we will discuss the significance of Foucault’s claim that sexuality is not an essential and fixed quality inherent to our being, but rather the result of historical shifts in power and knowledge. We will examine how and why it is we have come to think of sexuality as a “problem of truth,” as a secret to be revealed. 

We will look closely at the philosopher’s controversial claim that at the very moment we imagine sexuality as being repressed, driven under, made to hide, it was indeed “exploding,” “inciting,” and proliferating unto every aspect of human experience. We will also ask ourselves about the value of Foucault’s work for challenging our own ideas about our personal desires, our identity categories, and our cherished notions of the self.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.


Other upcoming Olios


Jun 22

Unburdening the Earth: Hinduism and Ecology

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 26

There's No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Jun 27

Gods That Fail

Taught by Lev Moscow
7:30 p.m. at Tompkins Ave Apartment

Sign Up - $15

Jul 7

Think Olio x Brooklyn Museum | America Was Never White

Taught by Jamie Warren
6 p.m. at The Brooklyn Museum

Sign Up - $0

Jul 8

Members Only | Jazz Age Field Trip to Long Island

Taught by Charles Riley
2 p.m. at Nassau County Museum of Art

Sign Up - $35

Jul 13

What Does it Mean to Be an American: Conformity, Silence, and Lies

Taught by Olio Happy Hour
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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