Foucault News

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

Maynard, Steven. “Queer Parrhesiast.” PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas, 65 (2022): 120-161.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/public_00097_1

Abstract
Drawing on and contextualizing the papers of Alexander Wilson (1953-1993), a Toronto-based writer, activist, and horticulturalist, this article explores the reciprocal relationship between Wilson’s intellectual and political work. It focuses on Wilson’s involvement with The Body Politic during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and highlights Wilson’s role in interviewing Michel Foucault in Toronto in 1982. Encompassing feminism, socialism, and environmentalism as part of a critique of narrow notions of ‘gay’ identity and aesthetics, Wilson’s project, it is suggested, prefigured the emergence of queer politics. At the same time, Wilson enacted a queer parrhesia in keeping with Foucault’s Toronto lectures on “speaking the truth about oneself.” The article includes a reproduction of the marked-up manuscript of Wilson and Bob Gallagher’s interview with Foucault, which was found among Wilson’s papers. The well-known interview, “Sex, Power, and the Politics of Identity,” appeared in The Advocate in August of 1984.

Keywords
AIDS crisis; Alexander Wilson; Michel Foucault; The Body Politic; environmentalism; feminism; parrhesia; queer archive; socialism

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