The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

My paper is drawn from my current project, which reconstructs and analyzes how popular understandings of male same-sex sexuality were articulated, shaped, and circulated in France between 1880 and 1914. The presentation focuses on popular fiction (romans des moeurs), pornography, and popular science. In contrast to most popular sources, which locate male same-sex sexuality in terms of criminality, scandal, and vice, these texts essay new but inchoate efforts to imagine the man-desiring man as a recognizable form of subjectivity. Of particular interest to me is how the claims and insights of elite medical knowledge are only partially, even erroneously integrated in these works, leaving popular notions of sexual dissidence to be informed by older ideological formations. The incomplete and contradictory assumptions about "pederasts" that animate these texts suggest that there did not yet exist a coherent, popularly-accepted model of sexual identity. This absence of clarity may also explain why representation of male same-sex sexuality so often took the form of highly convention-laden genres of narrative such as the confession, the crime story, the case history, the moral fable, and (however ironically) the love story.

On this site

Go to top