9 Dartmouth L.J. 1 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/dcujl9 and id is 1 raw text is: THE HERMENEUTICS OF DISGUST: AN
ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
SOCIO-JURIDICAL POWER AND SAME-SEX
DESIRE
JORDAN OSSERMAN*
This paper addresses the following question: how has dialectic between law and culture
constructed and perpetuated disgust for same-sex desire and behavior throughout
Western history? As today's legal reform-minded LGBT movement gains steam, a
critical understanding of the historical construction of disgust for homosexual sex is
crucial for achieving sexual liberty, not only in the law but also in society at large. To
help provide this understanding, I intend to synthesize the history of prohibitions
against same-sex love, and the history of the decriminalization of sodomy laws, with
Michel Foucault's theories on sexual subjectivity.
This paper is structured in three parts. First, l provide the historical religious origin to
the creation of sodomy law and its concomitant construction of disgust for same-sex
love. Second, I analyze how Foucault's main argument in The History of Sexuality,
Volume One, applies to this history, and its implications for sexual subjectivity. Finally,
I examine how the decriminalization of sodomy in France and the U.S. reveals the
limited power of legal reform to overcome historically entrenched notions of disgust.
My conclusion seeks to explain the strategic ethos we must adopt to overcome our
cultural disgust for non-normative sexualities.
I. IN TRODU  CTION  ......................................................................................   2
II. SODOMY LAW AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF DISGUST .......................... 3
III. MICHEL FOUCAULT ON THE MAKING OF SEXUAL SUBJECTIVITY ........... 5
IV. THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF SODOMY LAWS AND THE
PERPETUATION OF DISGUST ........................................................... 7
A . F rance  .........................................................................................   7
B. The United States: Lawrence v. Texas ....................................... 8
V. CONCLUSION: TOWARD A CREATIVE SEXUAL ETHOS ............................ 11
* Jordan Osserman is a member of the Dartmouth College Class of 2011. He is a Women's and
Gender Studies major and Government minor. His studies focus on the intersection of different
forms of marginalization and discrimination, including those based on sexuality, gender, race and
class. Jordan was a public policy intern at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in
Washington DC and a communications intern for the White House during the Obama
administration. This paper was first conceived as a final project for an independent study he
completed on critical legal theory with government professor Sonu Bedi. exploring leftist thought
and criticism in jurisprudence. Currently, Jordan is working on a senior honors thesis analyzing
queer political movements and identities in India. Jordan hopes to pursue a PhD in a Cultural
Studies or a similar interdisciplinary field.

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