HERCULINE BARBIN PDF
With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels of her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of her. Michel Foucault – “Introduction” to Herculine Barbin (New York: Pantheon, ), vii – xvii. INTRODUCTION. Do we truly need a true sex? With a persistence. File:Herculine Barbin Llamada Alexina wildlifeprotection.info wildlifeprotection.info (file size: MB, MIME type: application/pdf).
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Herculine Barbin dite Alexina B is the story of a young hermaphrodite who lived, studied and taught in nineteenth-century France. Her story, which was. PDF | This article argues that Judith Butler's neglect of biopolitics in her Butler's engagement with Foucault's Herculine Barbin, I suggest a. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Herculine Barbin | This chapter explains the historical notion of the self in relation to Herculine Barbin's autobiographic text.
An interesting aspect of Barbins story, though, is that she does not only align with that of the different stories for females, but males as well, if not more being that Barbin ultimately identified with being a male. Although Herculine Barbin is written under the context of Barbin being female, we ultimately discover that she would rather be a male. However, due to societys constant pressure on Barbin to be female, she is never truly happy in her male skin.
Dubermans narrative is largely based around him being discriminated for being a gay man. Its main theme is the authors struggle for a cure for his erotic drives, which a punishing society, and in particular its medical and psychiatric professions, defined as sickness Conway Chapter 7. This particular excerpt almost mirrors that of Barbins in that she is forced into a girls home at a young age, and when she should be able to make a decision of her gender, is forced into being female.
In addition to this, the sadness that both Duberman and Barbin carry is very evident. This leads me to further believe in Barbins story being a different story because despite being ridiculed and beat down, both Duberman and Barbin still tell their stories from their own point of view, and document these moments in ways that are meant to be meaningful, not entertaining.
This is an important aspect of different stories because these narratives are meant to make the reader consider things in ways that perhaps they never have, something I think that everyone can agree to doing after reading Herculine Barbin.
Plaza: Dialogues in Language and Literature
After examining Herculine Barbin alongside the narratives of Kate Millet and Martin Duberman in When Memory Speaks, I think it would be nave to not consider Herculine Barbin to be another narrative that could fall under the different story category.
A different story is one that challenges the reader, and one that presents questions to the society in which it takes place. Barbins story is honest and more often than not, dismal. Not to ask for pity, but to present the story as it should be presented.
Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite
Considering these points, Herculine Barbin is unequivocally not just any story, but a unique narrative that should be placed under the category of different narratives. Works Cited Conway, Jill Ker. Kindle Edition. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Foucault, Michel. Herculine Barbin.
This is plausible if we conceive of biopower as not just a discursive but a highly material form of power that emerged in the eighteenth century and operates by subjecting matter to the strategies of biopolitics to order and regulate life. The development of the life sciences led to the discovery of organic structures and thus new ways in which to order the world.
The control over sex therefore is not cultural for Foucault, but biopolitical.
It is not determined by cultural norms, but by the strategy to gain control over life. If biopolitics does not explain the phenom- enon of sex, what does? Her conjecture is that sexuality is produced by the self-reproducing heterosexual social structure of familial relations.
Butler does not engage with the passages in Will to Knowledge in which Foucault rejects the idea of sexuality as desire and analyses how 78 Feminist Theory 15 1 psychoanalytic and anthropological knowledge, along with other human sciences, become entangled with biopower to produce the sexual human subject.
Nonetheless, for Butler, it is a necessary move in order to resolve the analytical ambivalence left by her conglomeration of genealogy with phenomenology that evicts biopolitics from the critical inquiry of gender. Foucault, having gathered and organised these documents, authored only an eleven-page Introduction for the English edition published in For Butler, its importance lies in its distinctive discussion of desire as lack and the production of sexuality.
This contradicts the analysis of Will to Knowledge which Butler reads dialectically: there is no subjectivisation without iteration and no discourse without recognition.
Her question is already phenomenological — can there be a predis- cursive sexuality? She asks if sexuality is possible without the subjectivising power of recognition or not, rather than how sexuality is folded into the tentacles of biopower.
Her question presumes the Hegelian dialectic of recognition as the means by which sexuality, and hence gender, comes into being. In her initial reading of Herculine Barbin in , Butler found it lacking an explanation for why heterosexuality became so hegemonic indicative of a long- standing disinterest in biopolitics. By abruptly naming Friedrich Nietzsche an existentialist in the same vein as Beauvoir without elaboration, Butler also dialecticises him.
In other words, Nietzsche, the forefather of modern anti-Hegelian Western philosophy, is also rendered a structuralist who reduced the contingency of phenomena to a dialectical relation determined by a cultural base.
Foucault and Nietzsche are construed as existentialists interested in how the subject comes to exist in a cultural setting, and especially in how it appears to others through discourse. In order to explain how this occurs over time she evacuates the power of biopolitical strategy and replaces it with structures of kin- ship. She invests Foucault with the existentialism, structuralist and psychoanalytic traditions whose ontological authority he fervently contested.
As mentioned, Foucault supplies readers with only a brief Introduction. It does not detail what will follow in the texts, but points out particular connections and discursive phenomena deemed pertinent to their analysis. His suggested reading is not necessarily a reconstructive one, but a multifariously splintered one.
Barbin can have no desires outside the prohibitive laws of kinship, since, for Butler, it is impossible to consider desire except as lack. For Foucault, however, it is not desire but pleasure that is non-discursive and escapes the discourse of sexuality that orders it. Below I suggest an alternative reading of Herculine Barbin that makes a deliberate attempt to read it in the biopolitical context that Foucault was critiquing at the time of its publication.
The life that Barbin found so happy was so because of the double-edged protection provided by the convent schools. It is not that Barbin moved from an existence free from sexuality and desire to one of their existence and repression, or was subjected to the same system from the start, but the mode and intensity of power acting on Barbin changed upon her departure from the convent, and this change also troubled her greatly. Barbin possessed a body and the capacity for pleasure.
It was not interpellated by an Oedipal system, but became ordered by power. For Foucault, pleasure is a capacity, not a sex-determining sexual desire. The Introduction suggests the possibility of pleas- ure not bound to the sexual, hence as non-discursive. I want to reframe Herculine Barbin as an account of the various technological strategies by which the organic yet non-discursive body becomes inscribed by bio- power.
Particular to the emer- gence of modernity was its mode of ordering that conceived of the human as a living being and the source of meaning.
It was, in this sense, a highly material process. The very organs of bodies were territorialised by biopower and organised into organisms.
This process of organisation was extended also to the reproductive organs. The female sexual organs, previously placed on the other end of a single axis of sex, were now distinguished from male organs and given their own names. As Foucault would claim in Will to Knowledge, the sexual ordering of things was central to this new biopolitics as it was the means by which life would sustain itself: through the sexual reproduction of the human spe- cies and disciplinary access to the body.
This kind of inquiry into the ordering of sex, as we can see, is not psychoana- lytical or cultural, but essentially biopolitical. Such a reading does not contradict the genealogy of biopolitics as conveyed in Will to Knowledge but complements it. To conduct such a reading that uncovers the biopolitical territori- alisation of Barbin, that is, how it is that both doctors Chesnet, who examined and declared Barbin a man in and Goujon, who performed his autopsy in , despite acknowledging the ambiguity of sexual characteristics in Barbin, engaged in a discourse over sex and concluded that she is really a man, we must look to the documents that Foucault assembled in Herculine Barbin with which Butler did not engage.
Yet, to get to 84 Feminist Theory 15 1 the bottom of her sex, each conducted their own detailed examinations of her organs. This is why Barbin never menstruated. Goujon came to a similar conclusion, and went into much more explicit detail about how to uncover true sex, taking even further the argument for sex determin- ation by organic functionality than Chesnet.
Initially Goujon was unable to decide whether Barbin had a clitoris or a penis. At such an age, when individuals begin to reach sexual maturity, their sexuality is revealed and, relying on the assumption of heterosexu- ality, so is their sex. Contra Butler, this biopolitically informed Foucauldian reading interprets the formation of sexual subjectivity in terms of the territorialisation of biopower rather than interpellation, of the organisation of desires rather than their unhappy, com- pulsory self-destruction.
In fact, were we to conduct a strictly Foucauldian genealogy of sex, it would not be an exercise of the genealogy of gender ontology, but we would conduct a geneal- ogy of the gender discourse as an apparatus of biopower just as Foucault did to sexuality.Vintage, , Jun 12, Pages Buy.
Michel Foucault discovered the memoirs in the s while conducting research at the French Department of Public Hygiene.
His suggested reading is not necessarily a reconstructive one, but a multifariously splintered one. Sylvere Lotringer New York: Herculine Barbin: According to her account, she had a crush on an aristocratic female friend in school. Graham Burchell et al. Although Foucault did not theorize the dossier as a historiographic genre, his continued interest in collecting and publishing material as dossiers evinces an implicit trust in the power of this form to establish an alternative discursive order.
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