One of the lingering questions in Martin Buber's mature thought is the place of the erotic within it. Despite some earlier remarks on the subject, and the potentiality for I-You relations to emerge from erotic encounters, Buber's later work seems solely concerned with the objectifying tendencies in Eros, rather than its redemptive possibilities. This article reads Buber together with a lesser-known dialogical thinker, Harry Hay, the founder of the first gay rights organization in the United States, who developed what he called subject-SUBJECT consciousness: a nonobjectifying, nonhierarchical dialogical relationship between gay male subjects. Though apparently unaware of Buber, Hay's parallel dialogical system centers desire and Eros as generative of a redemptive politics and ethics. After introducing the reader to Hay's dialogical philosophy, I propose that, on the one hand, Hay's inclusion of eroticism enriches our readings of Buber and, on the other, that Buber's nonessentialist and nongendered thought is a necessary complement to Hay's. Reading Buber through Hay offers one approach to a nonhierarchical and sex-positive erotic ethos in the context of dialogical thought, and reading Hay through dialogical philosophy offers a way to recover subject-SUBJECT consciousness in a postessentialist frame.


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pp. 31-58
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