The thought of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) has had an enormous impact on the liberal arts and social sciences. His investigation of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular has played an important role in shaping the conversation about the history of homosexuality in the Middle East. To some extent, the panelists’ differences of approach and analysis are rooted in the differing ways that they accept, modify or reject Foucault’s methods and conclusions.
The link below succinctly explains some of the major arguments of Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. There are several issues that Foucault addresses in the first volume that are of particular relevance and are likely to come up in the panel discussion on February 27th: the thesis that sexuality is a construct rather than a biological phenomenon; the relationship between sexuality and identity; and the emergence of homosexuality as a classification.