Corrupting Conversations with the Marquis de Sade: On Education, Gender, and Sexuality

Studies in Philosophy and Education 35 (6):605-620 (2015)
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In this essay, the author joins a conversation started by Martin regarding gender and education seeking to extend the conversation to address sexuality. To do so, the author brings a reading of the Marquis de Sade to challenge the emphasis on reproduction in education as it relates to gendered and sexual norms. The author, following Martin’s approach in Reclaiming the Conversation, reads one particular text of Sade’s—Philosophy in the Bedroom—to argue for queer possibilities that Sade brings to the conversation around gender and sexuality within twenty-first century education. The Marquis de Sade may viscerally seem an inappropriate choice to return to and use to join the conversation, but his novelic imagination incites complications in the conversation. Following in the footsteps of Martin’s re-reading of historic philosophical texts the author offers not only another layer of thinking about “female education,” but also opens up space for engaging gender and sexuality in the history and philosophy of education. As issues around gender and sexed bodies become ever more present and contested in educational discourses, does Sade continue the conversation in ways that corrupt the reproductive aims of education?



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