Thursday, May 17, 2018

What is required is a Foucaultian investigation into the conditions of possibility for truth statements about "Islam." Instead of assuming and seeking to uncover the machanisms by which something called sexuality operates inside the category Islam, scholars must begin with the "positive mechanisms" that generate this Western will to know. Folowing Foucault, "we must investigate the conditions of their emergence and operation ... we must define the strategies of power that are immanent in this will to knowledge." The outcome of this kind of approach will reveal much about how Western scholarship on sexuality not only constitutes something it calls "Islam" but also how it constitutes "Europe," the "West," as an always already racialized normativity."

The question to ask then is not what is the nature of "sexuality," its operations, repressions, manifestations, and productions in Islam, but rather in a specific type of discourse about sexuality in Islam (in Western academy, NGO activism, Western media representations, Western governments' policy making), "in a specific form of extortion of truth, appearing historically and in specific places," around the place of women and homosexuality in Islam, to name the two privileged axes to be investigated. To echo Foucault one more rime, what were "the most immediate, the most local power relations at work? How did they make possible these kinds of discourses, and conversely, how were these discourses used to support power relations? How was the action of these power relations modified by their very exercise, entailing a strenghthening of some terms and a weakening of others ...?"
— Jospeh Massad, Islam in Liberalism, 2015, p. 273

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