BLACK! By Popular Demand!!

Contesting the Conquest of the Senses
Pattrice Jones

Throwing the homosexuals to the hounds sounds like a metaphor for the Republican Party’s electoral strategy of recent years, but it actually happened back in 1513 in what is now Panama. Then, governor Vasco Nunez de Balboa condemned 50 homosexual Indians to be torn apart by dogs.

Read the entire article: http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/14124/index.php

In the 21st Century and in a world where people say things like: “

‘Homosexuality is a Crime Worse Than Murder’,

its nice to receive an email – without any cut card – that adds light and historical context to one aspect of man’s inhumanity to man. Can’t we just love each other, ya’ll?

8 Responses to “BLACK! By Popular Demand!!

  1. Wow! You back already! Isn’t it weird how the paintings of that era
    – of atrocities – still look pretty … ? And: have you read Foucault, History of Sexuality, I have not? Why I ask: I have heard (and actually I should look this up before spouting off) that
    this is the book in which it is posited that homosexuality as such was not ‘invented’ until the 18th century or something. I mean, the practice(s) existed, but were not encoded as ‘homosexual’. However:
    by the look of this picture, said practices WERE encoded and condemned, sho’ ’nuff. Maybe someone else will know more about these things than I do.

  2. Hey J, good to see you back. beautiful picture, nice new look.

    I just don’t understand it, the homophobia, the heterosexism. It boggles my brain how stringently policed sexuality is. Really, what difference does it make what anyone does to find pleasure? As long as it’s all consensual, who cares? just do what you gotta do people. and keep your damn laws off my body, off his body and her body and everybody’s body in between.

  3. hey Prof –

    I’m studying Foucault right now for a class called, naturally, the History of Sexuality.

    you’re right about Foucault. His argument is that the IDENTITY of “the homosexual” was not invented until the 19th century, and was produced through medical/psychoanalytic/pastoral/legal discourse. Not meaning that people who practiced what WE TODAY would call homosexual acts didn’t EXIST, nor that those acts were not condemned. Meaning instead that until that point, the act was not considered part of the IDENTITY of the person. Rather, that we cannot look back onto the past with the eyes of today and call those practices homosexual, because homosexuality only gained meaning once the term was coined in the 19th C. Essentially, the argument is one of social/historical constructionism of homosexual identity. He further argues that these discourses informed the development of PERSONAL identity. Not gay/lesbian identity, notably – he doesn’t talk about these self-identified terms coming from localized subcultures. He is concerned with “official” discourse having to do with social institutions that encode relations of power. His model of power is structured around these relations – power doesn’t exist as a THING we can hold of have, but only in the relations between people. He thinks power is local, always flowing between people, and where there is power, there’s also resistance. So, one way of subverting the power of the dominant structure is to self-identify – which is, I think, why the terms “gay” and “lesbian” have bencome so popular and “homosexual” is not helpful to so many people.

    sorry, that turned into a Foucault lesson! I do love him, he’s one of my favourite philosophers, and this is one of his best pieces (not without faults and criticisms, as all great works). I encourage you to read it, Vol 1 is the intro and covers the basics of his theory on sexuality. There is some interesting stuff in there about the encoding of power onto/into bodies (biopower), and some brief mentions of gender and race in relation to this. (He died before his volume was written in which he planned on discussing the racialized nature of sexuality and power, but he was not at all concerned with gender, which is surprising since so many feminists find his theories useful.) The other book of his I found most helpful is Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. it’s fascinating.

  4. glad to see you around again! welcome back.

    whatever angle it takes, the domination systems of the world all ultimately have to enforce a control over the body. same then, same now.

    and Foucault might have more aptly titled it “the History of Sexuality in the West.”

  5. Hi TG! I looked up H of S too, before coming back 😉 … guess I will have to read! I liked D & P a lot, and thought, back in the day when I read it, that Arch. of Knowledge was more poetic than anything else, but I think I may need to read more of Foucault again, for general purposes. And everyone says H of S is brilliant.

    So I am still trying to figure out – were these early 16th century people being torn apart by dogs as something like ‘sodomites’ (since homosexuality as a category didn’t exist) – ou quoi? This is an utterly idle question, but I’m getting curious, should look it up (it would lead to a long lovely day of procrastination in the library reading up on things I do not urgently need to know – it sounds tempting).

  6. Z: they were punished for being sodomites, according to Pattrice’s article.

  7. Welcome “Black” Lubangakene! You voice was missed! Much love!

  8. That is so dreadful, Max, and I agree with you fully.

    So glad to see you back! I trust your time away was productive.

    It’s good to be back here.

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