Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Nicholas de Villiers. Porno Cultures Podcast, July 10, 2019. Interview with Brandon Arroyo.

facebook.com/AcademicSex

When we think about the rhetoric around sex workers it’s often easier to hear or read opinions advocating for the abolishment of sex work coming from politicians or “concerned citizens” who are not sex workers, or have never bothered to speak to a sex worker. The degree to which the voices of sex workers are suppressed in mainstream outlets throughout the West speaks to how dangerous their voices are considered. What on earth can sex workers be saying that so many people feel the need to speak for them instead of letting them speak for themselves? Well, that’s one of the primary issues that Nicholas de Villiers looks to solve in Sexography: Sex Work in Documentary (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Sexography analyzes a series of films centered around interviewing sex workers. These films represent some of the few instances where sex workers are actually allowed to speak for themselves. Of course, these films are not without their own tensions. Many of the films are directed by non-sex workers and some of the portrayals of sex work in these films is quite negative. This is where de Villiers’ dynamic analysis of these films through a queer perspective helps us think about the nature of sex work, the interview, documentary aesthetics, and the concept of “truth” in new and interesting ways. Sexography is an exploration of how we can go about reading for, and exploring the sexual practices of, not only sex workers, but our own ideas about sexuality as well. How can the financial aspects of sex work help us understand the power dynamics of our own sexual relationships? What can sex workers teach us about sex and pornographic literacy? What is the relationship between sex work, pornography, and drag performance? And how can the work of Foucault help us think about the contemporary nature of sexual practice? These are just some of the questions explored in this wide-ranging interview. De Villiers is one of the most interesting and bold queer theorists working today, so you’re not going to want to miss out on his compelling analysis of these films or his thoughts on contemporary sexuality!
Sexography: Sex Work in Documentary
L.A. Review of Books review of Sexography
More work from Nicholas
Opacity and the Closet: Queer Tactics in Foucault, Barthes, and Warhol
Nicholas’ appearance on the Critical Theory podcast discussing Opacity and the Closet
“Afterthoughts on Queer Opacity”
“FBI Seized 23 Tor-hidden Child Porn Sites, Deployed Malware from Them”
“How the FBI Became the World’s Largest Distributor of Child Sex Abuse Imagery”
“Transgender, at War and in Love”
“What Teenagers are Learning from Online Porn”
Paris is Burning (1990)
Love Meetings (1964)
Not Angels But Angles (1994)
Body Without Soul (1996)
Tales of the Night Fairies (2002)

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