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Vídeo: J.Butler on Hannah Arendt, Ethics and Responsibility


Judith Butler speaking about Hannah Arendts study of Adolph Eichmann and lecturing about genocide, plurality, Kant and the categorical imperative, juridical law, performativity, and the formation of Israel in a lecture entitled Hannah Arendt, Ethics, and Responsibility – How To Keep Company With Oneself. Judith Butler Public open lecture for the students and faculty of the European Graduate School EGS Media and Communication Studies department program Saas-Fee Switzerland Europe 2009 Judith Butler.

Judith Butler is the Maxine Elliot professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a post-structuralist philosopher working in contemporary politics, cultural and literary theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism, and sexual politics. Butlers books ask, in general to a greater or lesser degree, questions about the creation of identity and subjectivity, following the process in which one becomes a subject through the donning of identities, most notably those of gender, race and sexual orientations. Butlers work investigates the formation of identity—be it an identity of gender, sexual persuasion, or political thought—and through what processes these formations come into existence. Her work is dialectical in style, posing question upon question—investigating—while resisting a final synthesis and allowing a/the question to remain open. Butlers interrogations (though this is a word she would most probably eschew) focus in the most part on five concepts—the subject and its formation; gender; sex; language, and finally, the psyche. Through these five ideas, her work encompasses a wide scope, moving deftly from art criticism to cultural theory to political activism, as well philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism and politics and the investigation of power.

In her most well known book, Gender Trouble, she argued that traditional feminism had made the mistake of classifying women as a separate category; instead, she argued, gender should be argued not as an absolute value, but a shifting, relational attribute, one which changes and evolves in different circumstances and times. In Bodies That Matter, Butler continued this investigation, posing questions as to the formulation of the body in the public sphere, examining how the hegemony of a male heterosexual gaze creates gender and sex, and how this power is used to delimit and constrain the other. More recently, Butler has turned her exacting insight towards the intractable subjects of the nation state, war, and the hegemonies of power.

As a recipient of the 2008 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award, Judith Butler has chosen to establish a Critical Theory Initiative within the Critical Theory Department at UC Berkley. “Our common task will be to think about how the shifting nature of war changes our idea of critical theory as an effort to understand and transform social relations in ways that ameliorate war and its effects,” Judith Butler wrote. “We will also consider the public role of intellectuals in the active criticism of these new forms of war.”

Judith Butler is the author of Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (Columbia University Press, 1987), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, 1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (Routledge, 1993), The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (Stanford University Press, 1997), Excitable Speech (Routledge, 1997), Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (Columbia University Press, 2000). In 2004, she published Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning with Verso Press which considered questions of war, representation, and ethics. Her most recent book, Frames of War, was published by Verso in 2009 and explores the precariousness of life in relation to 9/11 and the Iraq War. She is currently at work on a series of essays exploring Jewish Philosophy, both in post and pre Zionist thought.


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