By Christopher Castiglia

About Christopher Castiglia

Christopher Castiglia is Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, the author of Bound and Determined: Captivity Culture-Crossing and White Womanhood from Mary Rowlandson to Patty Hearst, Interior States: Institutional Consciousness and the Inner Life of Democracy, and (with Chris Reed) If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past.


An amorphous space located somewhere “inside” the human body, generating conviction (“that’s just how I feel inside”), satisfaction (“I felt all warm inside”), and even identity (“I have to be who I am inside”), interiority has preoccupied recent work in American studies and cultural studies. This preoccupation arguably stems from the influence of Michel Foucault’s (1975/1995) analysis of the institutional discourses shaping, implementing, and managing subjectivity and will. Interiority, in these contexts, is the precondition and outcome of power as new knowledge regimes (pedagogical, medical, and penal) have shifted social control from forces exerted on the body (punishment) to institutional incentives to increase the productive forces of the body in managed systems of normalcy (discipline).

Attention to interiority emerged in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries out of new institutional discourses that sought to maintain social order without impinging on Enlightenment principles of self-governance and rational liberty. Institutional knowledge …

Embodiments, Feelings, Nature
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