Talk:David M. Halperin

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Rename article[edit]

The article should be renamed David M. Halperin, including his middle initial. Would help with disambiguation. Skoojal (talk) 05:15, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

In the absence of objections, I have made this change. Skoojal (talk) 23:32, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Remove "Controversies" section?[edit]

I can't find any discussion of the plagiarism charge against Halperin other than the one Eribon makes in his own blog; moreover, Eribon himself promises "more on this soon", but never followed up. This wouldn't seem to be a controversy so much as a one-off claim that no one else took up. If nobody can find any other discussions of the issue, I'll go ahead and delete it. Dowiha (talk) 23:28, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

You should read the very hasrch review in Tetu Magazine (may 2011 issue) endorsing Eribon's claim, and also several reviews on the journal on line If you cannot read french, this does not mean that you are entitled to delete an information widely shared in france, where halperin's last book was accused of plagiarism. Politicsandletters —Preceding unsigned comment added by Politicsandletters (talkcontribs) 17:27, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

For those who do not read french : from a review by didier lestrade (a famous gay journalist and activist) : "And the talk about town is that most of the contents of « Que Veulent Les Gays » is taken from works already published by Didier Eribon" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Politicsandletters (talkcontribs) 17:41, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

I read French; please post your sources here on the Talk page and I will take a look. Your edits don't give any specific sources for the accusations of plagiarism and that is why several editors keep reverting them. Jonathanwallace (talk) 17:58, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

one review : Halperin est en effet accusé de plagiat. Didier Eribon, qui avait lui-même traduit le livre d'Halperin, Saint Foucault, est sorti de sa réserve quand il a vu toutes les références de ses précédents ouvrages réutilisées par l'auteur anglo-saxon. Dans un billet de son blog personnel, il évoque un « impérialisme linguistique ». L'argument est simple. La Trinité Genet/Sartre/Jouhandeau et le concept même de retournement de l'abjection lui sont directement pompés, mais comme Halperin est américain, et que personne ne lit les théoriciens gays français, ça passe comme une lettre à la poste, même auprès des deux universitaires à l'origine d'une discussion autour du bouquin. Pas une référence directe à Eribon dans le livre d'Halperin (à part deux misérables notes dans l'appareil critique de 32 pages), et pourtant tout y est, parfois même, phrase à phrase.

Another one : the talk about town is that most of the contents of « Que Veulent Les Gays » is taken from works already published by Didier Eribon.

And : Tetu Magazine, (april 2011)... Not avaliable on line. Review by Gildas Le Dem : "Un livre desolant".

Thanks for uploading sources. Under WP:BLPSPS we cannot source an accusation of plagiarism to a blog. I Will take a look at the magazine source and if it appears reliable then we can work on some form of words to re-add the assertion to the article. Give me a day or two. Jonathanwallace (talk) 16:09, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Well: is not a blog: it is a journal on line. Anyway it is a reliable information to give that david halperin was accused of plagiarism by didier eribon, a leading french intellectual. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Politicsandletters (talkcontribs) 20:12, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

The information is not that halperin has plagiarized but that a prominent french intellectal accused him of plagiarism. This is an objective fact and a reliable information. I will put back this statement and I don't allow you to remove it. I don't understand why you should decide and judge and I certanely don't recognize you as a legitimate judge ! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:20, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I have now semi-protected the article due to the edit-warring and breaches of WP:BLP. If the accusations of plagiarism are notable, they will be covered in at least one reliabe source - and definitely not a blog. This needs to be presented before such a damaging addition is made to a BLP. I am quite prepared to make this a full protection and/or block IPs and editors trying to game the system and add the information to Wikipedia without a reliable source. --Dweller (talk) 13:37, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Some examples of plagiarim here:
It is clear that Wikipedia administrators are protected this author beyond any rule of objectivity that is supposed to be the base of an encyclopedia — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seteun (talkcontribs) 18:08, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
The foundation of this encyclopedia is WP:V. I recommend you read it before making ridiculous comments about administrators. --Dweller (talk) 08:52, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

We can write that, with relable sources : LE Nouvel Observateur and L'Express, two prominent french information magazines, report that David Halperin was accused of plagiarism by Didier Eribon. SOurces : and — Preceding unsigned comment added by Enrobe93 (talkcontribs) 08:12, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

I'm not happy with this, but I've reworded the language in the article and repaired the formatting of the two cites. There's really only one source, because L'Express is merely cloning the Observateur's story. However, the editors in this topic seem to think that this accusation can go in the article if there's a reliable source, so, against my better judgment, I've not reverted (I reverted yesterday). I'd like someone to explain a little more about what Eribon is saying, though, because although I have a passable understanding of French, I don't quite get what work of Halperin's allegedly plagiarized what work of Eribon's. I'd like that to be clearer in the article if we're going to leave it in.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:52, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I've clarified a little which work supposedly plagiarized which work. I added a cite of an interview with Eribion, which I think illuminates better the claim and its history. Now that I've read the interview, it sounds like a squabble of long standing that has only made the press now because of Eribon's demand to the Brudner committee. The more I read of it, the more I think it doesn't belong in the article. If it's been going on for this long with no real resolution or reporting other than just an allegation by Eribon, it simply isn't noteworthy enough just because Eribon makes a splash in the French papers by ratcheting it up. Have any other scholars weighed in on Eribon's claims? I'm leaving the material in for the moment to give other editors a chance to weigh in, but I would be in favor of removal.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:37, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

i have removed the plagiarism accusations section. It is highly unfair to pinpoint a single academic like this when people often have arguments over sources of some work during a long career. I think his continued reputation speaks for itself. NotoriousQRG (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:14, 27 March 2012 (UTC).

You're going to have to obtain a consensus for removing so much sourced material with the simple comment that it is "highly unfair". I've reverted your changes. Please discuss and obtain input from others before removing the material.--Bbb23 (talk) 04:03, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

I have removed the section accusing Halperin of sexual harassment as there is no proof and he was not 'convicted'. It is an allegation aimed to tar his name. It is more than unfair it is unethical and not relevant to this wikipedia entry about his work. NotoriousQRG (talk) 15:33, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm not changing anything else but why you have a need to try and put Halperin's reputation into disrepute based on unsubstantiated claims by one of his 'rival' biographers of Foucault I do not know! NotoriousQRG (talk) 19:05, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Evaluations of Halperin's work section[edit]

I think this section is very poorly written, and needs to be improved. I dislike the organization of the material, and feel that it needs to be rewritten; furthermore, it seems to reflect only negative and critical viewpoints. Halperin's work has also received positive reviews - could someone please find them and add them here? Viramag (talk) 22:56, 16 November 2011 (UTC) I have added two recent and up-to-date references to Halperin's work, and cut most of the section about Simon Le Vay's 'critique'. Le Vay himself has had severe criticisms and he is not a very reliable source in my view! NotoriousQRG(talk)

I agree. One would hardly know from this section that Halperin's general idea now reigns not only in classics but in historical studies of sexuality, generally. Furthermore, neither this section nor the article itself is the proper place to rehash the largely dead horse of the social construction of sexuality debate, which should be done, if at all, in articles actually on that topic; a simple link would suffice here. Even further, LeVay is neither a classicist nor historian; his views, such as they are, are irrelevant to assessing Halperin's work, the alleged subject. Consequently, this section requires a complete rewrite. I will dedicate myself to the task within the next couple weeks or so.Antinoos69 (talk) 12:14, 1 June 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69

Self-published source[edit]

An editor has added a lot of material to the article based on Halperin's CV, located on the University of Michigan's website. I've tried to explain to the editor that this is a WP:SPS and therefore not a reliable source for Halperin's accomplishments. I let a lot of it go except when the editor added a slew of journals (in a sea of redlinks) to the article. I don't want to get into an edit war over this, but (1) we can't rely on self-published sources for this sort of material and (2) it's not really all that helpful to list every journal he's supposedly published in. We already have a list of his pubs. If there's something notable about one of the articles he's published, fine, then we can cite it to secondary sources. Finally, the editor's contention (on my Talk page and in edit summaries) that it's not a self-published source because it's on the University website is not credible. Faculty at universities for the most part control their own biographical information, and certainly the CV wasn't prepared by the University.--Bbb23 (talk) 04:11, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, I am then at a loss as to how one would support claims about any living person's academic history. Isn't it true that any published source on such matters ultimately depends on the subject's own claims? Or do you imagine troops of journalists scouring the world's institutions of higher learning, breaking into their legally confidential files, to reveal the truth for the benefit of Wikipedia readers? I've noticed the same support offered in regard to other academics' professional histories on here. Certainly this is a case of taking the letter of the law well beyond its spirit.Antinoos69 (talk) 12:32, 1 June 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69

accusations of plagiarism[edit]

I have removed this section. The evidence is flimsy and it feels as if someone has a personal grudge. NotoriousQRG (talk) 15:24, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

You're going to have to obtain a consensus for removing sourced material (because of a "feeling" you have). You removed other material as well, and the material you added is sourced to a blog and is rather puffy.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:36, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

well you obviously have some feelings! This is quite nasty stuff that has been included. I have changed the name of the section to Saint Foucault, because Didier is a biographer of Foucault and that is where the controversy lies. NotoriousQRG (talk) 16:44, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

You've done a lot more than that and still without any consensus for your changes. I suggest you stop.--Bbb23 (talk) 17:27, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I want to add something that may be of some help to you. If you look back at the history of this article on this Talk page and at WP:BLPN (you'll have to go into the archives), you'll find that the article has repeatedly been contentious. You'll also note, in case you haven't already, that I was often in favor of removing negative material, including the material you've removed. That said, I'm a big advocate of process, and it's a bit hard to accept your coming out of nowhere and just removing material without any real discussion, given the protracted history. Perhaps you could generate some rediscussion on the specific points here - or even at WP:BLPN - which might achieve your objective in a more deliberate fashion. I also think you should tackle one thing at a time. Thanks.--Bbb23 (talk) 17:47, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

you say 'according to French newspapers' and then there is no reference to any French newspapers! How is that good citation practice? NotoriousQRG (talk) 19:16, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

It's not "you", but I've reworded the last sentence and added a cite.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:21, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

I also think it is necessary to mention that Ebiron is the author of a biography of Foucault, as is Halperin. This is relevant to any 'controversy' between them NotoriousQRG (talk) 19:27, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Okay. As far as I know, Halperin has never written a biography on anyone. If you're thinking of Sain Foucault, that is not a biography. However, I do think no one should add this material to the article unless he/she can cite a published someone who has read both books and can call up a specific case of textual plagiarism. If it's just a matter of a similarity between general ideas, as seems to be the claim according to the citations given, then it would be a case of an academic cat fight that would not belong here. It is invalid to defend the material's inclusion on the basis that one is merely reporting a claim, as we all know the extremely prejudicial nature of any plagiarism claim in academia. Such a defense of the material is merely precious. I will also note the incredible negative tone taken in this article. Compare this to the rather positive tones of the articles even on the notorious Robert Gagnon and frequently controversial Foucault. What gives here? Is it homophobia? Halperin's Saint Foucault is particularly ironic here. It seems there is an ax to grind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Antinoos69 (talkcontribs) 12:59, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the warnings. As I said I am not editing this page any further until I have spoken to someone about these issues. I will return to continue the conversation in a few days. Best wishes NotoriousQRG (talk) 19:29, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Ok I have read the sources about the plagiarism accusations - in French - and they are very weak. all they do is repeat what Didier E said, there is not evidence to back him up. This is just one man's word against another and I don't think it should be part of a wikipedia article. If you object to me removing it let me know why. Thanks. NotoriousQRG (talk) 14:31, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

As I've already said, this material has been discussed before, and you'll have to obtain consensus to remove it.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:21, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

well what about the issue of the lack of evidence? it is only D E's word. That is not enough. I think someone should answer that question NotoriousQRG (talk) 15:23, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

You're really just repeating yourself. As I've said, I'm not unsympathetic to your view, but, at the same time, I believe in procedural safeguards, and because of the controversy and discussion over this section in the past, I'm reluctant to simply yank it out. If no one else comments here, you can raise this at WP:BLPN. I might add that the passage of time without apparently any further news on the issue, in my opinion, strengthens your position. BTW, who is this "someone" you spoke to "about these issues"?--Bbb23 (talk) 15:37, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

I meant I wouldn't edit the page again without talking to the other editors - you people here, in the talk section NotoriousQRG (talk) 15:45, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

A sociologist[edit]

The heading section defines David M. Halperin as a "theorist in the fields of gender studies, queer theory, critical theory, material culture and visual culture". I think that all these fields pertain to sociology, so I propose to change a little bit the definition: "theorist in the sociology fields of ..... and visual culture".--Auró (talk) 20:03, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Halperin is not a sociologist. The areas mentioned in the lead are not necessarily sociology fields. I think you're adding your own opinion to the lead as to what he is and what he writes about. And if they were sociology fields, the word would be unnecessary.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:56, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I have approached Halperin article because I am interested in his contribution to the homosexuality field, and I am currently reading his work Hundred Years of Homosexuality. If you know what the main field of Halperin is, I would appreciate your opinion, since I think it would improve the definition of his profile. I thought that his approach to homosexuality was mainly sociological, though it could also be considered historical. This was in accordance with the fact that queer theory and critical theory pages exhibit the "Sociology" box.--Auró (talk) 12:18, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I think the lead is fine the way it is. It describes who he is per his own sites and others.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:03, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
My opinion is that the information that he works with a sociological method would add useful information for those readers, like myself, that are not familiar with the terms queer theory or critical theory. See that the article is included in the category American sociologist stubs. --Auró (talk) 22:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Career Section[edit]

I have removed the material concerning accusations of sexual harassment. The allegation is out of place in a “Career” section. The sources cited amount to mere hearsay, even by strict legal standards. No one has provided the alleged victim’s own words or testimony, who never seems to have made any public statements of any sort. All we have are a third party’s allegations, made in court documents, as to what happened. And many of that party’s other allegations have been directly contradicted by the parties involved. It appears that the court filing is the ultimate source behind all citations; as court documents are officially improper sources in BLP, this material must be removed. Nor can one say one is merely reporting an accusation, since we all know the libelous, prejudicial, and defamatory nature of accusations of sexual harassment. There is a long homophobic tradition of such allegations against gay men. The material is therefore in violation of policies on BLP and must be immediately removed. Antinoos69 (talk) 11:19, 6 June 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69

I'm no expert on this-- is MIT's website a reliable third-party source? That's wiki's criteria. jj (talk) 14:13, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
No. The MIT site--which looks rather strange, btw--is merely quoting The Tech, the school paper, which is merely quoting the court pleading. So all we have is the court pleading on this particular matter, pure hearsay (in this case) and an improper source. Given the inherently prejudicial, defamatory, and inflammatory nature of the mere allegation, and given the intensely homophobic history of such allegations, an allegation simply will not do. It's like praeteritio: I'm not going to tell you what a sexual predator everyone knows you to be. It can't be undone and colors everything else. Wikipedia should not be involved in such disreputable and potentially homophobic practices.Antinoos69 (talk) 08:22, 7 June 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69
I agree completely that mentioning these unproven allegations violates our BLP policies, and support keeping them out of the article. I would apply the same standards to people of any sexual orientation, or unknown sexual orientation, per WP:NPOV. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:57, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Imminent/Proposed Deletion of "Evaluations of Halperin's work" Section[edit]

This section suffers from problems that are grounds for immediate deletion from BLP:

  • WP:BLPSTYLE (Balance) and WP:NPOV: This section makes no mention of the fact that Halperin's general position, the social construction of sexuality, actually is the majoritarian view. See, e.g., OCD4, s.v. "homosexuality"; and Marilyn B. Skinner, Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005), who provides a broad overview of scholarship. Instead, it gives undue attention to minority views of those from other fields. Even on Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium, no mention is made of classicists who agree with him. See, e.g., Boehringer and Carnes. Even classicists who disagree with Halperin nevertheless mention his view as the dominant one, often while complaining about that fact. See, if memory serves, the works by Percy, Davidson, Hubbard, Cohen, and Thornton.
  • WP:COATRACK: What this section actually does, despite its title, is rehash the old debate over the social construction of sexuality, for which the section appears to serve as a "coatrack." While one may certainly make quick allusion to that debate, perhaps providing a link to a suitable Wikipedia article, this section is not the place to reengage it.

I would add two additional points:

  • First, if we are evaluating Halperin's work on the history of sexuality in ancient Greece, we must stick to the evaluations of expert scholars in that field: classicists and historians of classical antiquity specializing in the history of sexuality. This criterion immediately disqualifies Boswell, a medievalist, and LeVay, a scientist, however relevant their views may be to the broader debate on the social construction of sexuality (not this section's topic and a coatrack). 
  • Second, Halperin's formidable contributions to the history of sexuality are but half the story, as he now primarily works in queer theory. Half of this section should focus on that. As agreement and consensus in queer theory are beautiful fables only, one will have to detail both Halperin's primary contributions and contrarian views, but without giving the impression that these contrarian views make him in any way unique. He is actually a highly respected queer theorist. Though I do read in this area, my lesser expertise here renders me less capable of providing specific help.
While the first two points constitute grounds for immediate deletion of this section from this BLP, I have decided to post this message instead, since there has been some controversy over the matter. I presently plan to delete the section within a very few days. Originally, I had planned to rewrite the section myself, but I simply will not have the time to do so in the foreseeable future.Antinoos69 (talk) 09:28, 25 June 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69
I do not believe that the issues raised are sufficient for deleting the referenced content. I encourage Antinoos69 to rewrite the section, in complete compliance with policies and guidelines, rather than deleting it. If Antinoos69 doesn't have the time for the rewrite, let's please let it stand for now. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:03, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Incorrect. POV and balance problems require immediate deletion per policies on BLP, and the burden is clearly on those wishing to include material in BLP, not those correctly deleting such material. Don't you recall? I extensively explained these and other problems. Do not return this improper material.Antinoos69 (talk) 10:57, 2 July 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69

I saw this a few days ago on the talk page but haven't responded to it. I've also seen slow-brewing reverts going on. I honestly don't see how the material is a BLP violation. It may be shoddy scholarship and may need editing for due weight. But to say it's a BLP violation that some scholars agreed or disagreed with Halperin's work? That's a rather broad and overzealous reading of the BLP policy. It'd be preferable if instead of procedurally reverting, we could calm down and work out what exactly needs changing to improve the article. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:47, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

You miss the argument. Failing to address the majoritarian view, while focussing on minoritarian ones, is a clear "balance" and NPOV violation requiring deletion. Remember,"eventualism" does not apply to BLP.Antinoos69 (talk) 11:56, 3 July 2013 (UTC)Antinoos69
No, I understand the argument, I just think that it is an over-reaching interpretation of BLP. The point of BLP is to protect the subject of the article from libel and other forms of damage, not to protect a person's ideas from reliably sourced criticism. Does the section as it is currently written harm Halperin? No. (As the article notes, Halperin has been accused of plagiarism Is it contentious? Well, sort of. It's intellectually contentious, but it's not contentious in the sort of way BLP is intended to protect. Should the article include more material to give a clearer view of the criticism Halperin's work has been subject to? Sure. The way to resolve that is to click "edit" and add it. (Or perhaps list a bunch of sources here so other people can work on improving the article.) —Tom Morris (talk) 12:25, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Tom Morris that deletion is not called for in answer to Antinoos9's perceived problems. The 'balance' would perhaps be served by rearranging the disputed material, by tightening the prose, by replacing a long quote with a short summary: things like that. Binksternet (talk) 14:25, 3 July 2013 (UTC:)
I don't believe that the section under dispute was a BLP violation, however, I do think that most or all of it ought to be removed, as undue for this article. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, which is an article I have just started, would be a better location for most of the material. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 10:38, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Halperin's work[edit]

This is a page about Halperin, but there is not an explanation of his work, instead it goes directly to its evaluation, that even is difficult to understand if you have not an idea of his work in the first place. I think that it is important to place Halperin inside the constructivist sociological movement, to which Michel Foucault also belongs. At the opposite side there are the essentialists, among which John Boswell is included. I am not prepared to make a complete and thorough section about Halperin's work, but will start it and contribute my best, hoping that somebody else will follow and improve it.--Auró (talk) 21:30, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

It seems that I have incurred in a malpractice, consisting in including personal analysis, in my last edit. This has been dully detected, resulting in a trimming of said edition. I think that it is possible to treat the suppressed subjects in a way that avoid the personal analysis pitfall. I will try, and submit the proposals in this same (talk page) section.--Auró (talk) 21:21, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
This is my first proposal.I will quote Halperin in page 17 of the reference book, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality
  • "It is not exactly my intention to argue that homosexuality, as we commonly understand it today, did not exist before 1892. How, indeed, could it have failed to exist? The very word displays a most workmanlike and scientific indifference to cultural and environmental factors, looking only to the sexes of the persons engaged in the sexual act. Moreover, if homosexuality did not exist before 1892, heterosexuality couldn't have existed either (it came into being, in fact, like Eve from Adam's rib, eight years later), and without heterosexuality, where would all of us be right now?"
That can be rendered into the following, to avoid direct citation:
Halperin clearly expresses in the first chapter of his work that he is not pretending to defend that homosexuality as it is understood today did not exist before 1892. He insists in the fact that the term itself is very independent of cultural or sociological factors, as it makes reference only to the sexes of the persons involved in the sexual act. He then compares it to the term "heterosexuality" that came into being eight years later.--Auró (talk) 13:26, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

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