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Educating Jouy

Authors

  • Shelley Tremain


Abstract

The feminist charge that Michel Foucault's work in general and his history of sexuality in particular are masculinist, sexist, and reflect male biases vexes feminist philosophers of disability who believe his claims about (for instance) the constitution of subjects, genealogy, governmentality, discipline, and regimes of truths imbue their feminist analyses of disability and ableism with complexity and richness, as well as inspire theoretical sophistication and intellectual rigor in the fields of philosophy of disability and disability studies more generally. No aspect of Foucault's corpus has been more consistently subjected to the charges of masculinism and male bias than his example of the nineteenth-century farmhand Charles Jouy who, at about forty years of age, engaged in sexual activity with a girl, Sophie Adam, was reported to authorities, and subsequently was incarcerated in Maréville for the rest of his days. My central aim in this paper is to interrupt the momentum of the accepted feminist interpretation of the Jouy case by advancing a feminist perspective on Jouy's identity and the incidents involving Jouy and Adam that takes seriously insights derived from philosophy of disability and critical disability theory and history.

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