David Halperin W. H. Auden Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of the History and Theory of Sexuality
I have written a number of articles on Plato’s erotic theory using a variety of approaches: philosophical, historical, deconstructive, cultural. I approach the topic from the twin but competing perspectives of the history of sexuality and the history of love.
Much of my career has been devoted to consolidating the fields of lesbian and gay studies and queer theory (I co-founded GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies in 1991, which I continued to co-edit for fifteen years; I co-edited The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader in 1993; I co-founded the Lesbian and Gay Caucus of the American Philological Association and established the John J. Winkler Memorial Trust, among other initiatives).
But I have returned to Plato periodically, whose work grounds the graduate course I teach on Theories of Love (which begins with Plato and ends with Nabokov and Barthes). I have also written on the work of Michel Foucault. I am interested generally in questions of sexual ethics and the history of truth.
One Hundred Years of Homosexuality
How to do the History of Homosexuality
(U. Chicago, 2002)
- ““Foucault’s Queer Critique,” in The Routledge Companion to Queer Literary Studies, ed. Melissa Sanchez (New York: Routledge, 2024), forthcoming.
- “Love’s Irony: Six Remarks on Platonic Eros,” in Shadi Bartsch and Thomas Bartscherer (eds.), Erotikon: Essays on Eros, Ancient and Modern, 48–58. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
- “Deviant Teaching,” in George E. Haggerty and Molly McGarry (eds.), A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies, 146–67. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.
- “Forgetting Foucault: Acts, Identities, and the History of Sexuality,” Representations 63 (Summer 1998): 93–120.
- “Plato and the Erotics of Narrativity,” in James C. Klagge and Nicholas D. Smith (eds.), Methods of Interpreting Plato and His Dialogues, 93–129. (= Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Suppl. vol. 2, 1992.)
- “Why is Diotima a Woman?” in One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and other essays on Greek Love, 113–151, 190–211. New York: Routledge, 1990.
- “Plato and the Metaphysics of Desire.” Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 5 (1989): 27–52.
- “Normalizing Greek Desire,” in Phyllis Culham and Lowell Edmunds (eds.), Classics: A Discipline and Profession in Crisis?, 257–72. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1989.
- “Sexual Ethics and Technologies of the Self in Classical Greece.” Review article of Michel Foucault, L’usage des plaisirs = Histoire de la sexualité 2. American Journal of Philology 107 (1986), 274–86.
- “Plato and Erotic Reciprocity.” Classical Antiquity 5 (1986): 60–80.
- “Platonic Erôs and What Men Call Love.” Ancient Philosophy 5 (1985): 161–204.