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The Book of Minor PervertsSexology, Etiology, and the Emergences of Sexuality$
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Benjamin Kahan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226607818

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226608006.001.0001

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After Sedgwick: The Gordian Knot of the Great Paradigm Shift

After Sedgwick: The Gordian Knot of the Great Paradigm Shift

(p.115) After Sedgwick: The Gordian Knot of the Great Paradigm Shift
The Book of Minor Perverts

Benjamin Kahan

University of Chicago Press

This afterword, “After Sedgwick: The Gordian Knot of the Great Paradigm Shift,” attempts to work through two fundamental impasses in the historiography of sexuality: (1) Does the invention of sexuality (what Eve Sedgwick calls the Great Paradigm Shift) occur with the advent of the molly in the eighteenth century as one group of scholars (Randolph Trumbach, Mary McIntosh, Alan Bray, Michel Rey, Theo van der Meer, Michael Warner, Rictor Norton, Thomas King) argues or with the sexological figure of the homosexual as another group of scholars (Michel Foucault, David Halperin, Joseph Boone, Arnold Davidson, Peter Coviello) proposes? (2) Scholars of sexuality working with more contemporary materials have assembled a vast scholarship on the role that race (Marlon Ross, Siobhan Somerville), class (Michael Trask, Margot Canaday), and gender (George Chauncey, Barry Reay) play in the construction of sexual object choice. However, there is no synthesis or mapping of the relations between these works. This afterword argues that a historical etiological approach will help us to navigate these impasses and that such an approach will enable us to narrate the Great Paradigm Shift more fully.

Keywords:   Great Paradigm Shift, Eve Sedgwick, invention of sexuality, molly, homosexuality, race, class, gender, sexual object choice, George Chauncey

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