Judith Butler, "Versions of Binationalism in Said and Buber"

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
  • University of Arizona

The RelSec Initiative proudly welcomed Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Butler delivered a public lecture in the University of Arizona's ENR2 Building entitled "Versions of Binationalism in Said and Buber." Professor Butler also conducted a seminar on selections from her recent book, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012).

The talk on binationalism in Said and Buber brings out the resonance between past visions of binational co-habitation as well as the divergence of their views. Both establish an historical point of departure for thinking about the possibility of dispossession as one condition of ethical responsiveness and responsibility, as well as political solidarity among Jews, Palestinians, and all other inhabitants of the land.

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also served as Founding Director of the Critical Theory Program. She is also Hannah Arendt Chair at the European Graduate School. She is the author of numerous influential works including Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning (2004), and Who Sings the Nation-State?: Language, Politics, Belonging (with Gayatri Spivak, 2008). Her recent books include: Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012), Dispossessions: The Performative in the Political (co-authored with Athena Athanasiou, 2013), and Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015).  

She is also the author of numerous articles and contributions on philosophy, feminism, and queer theory. She is active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics, and serves on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace. She is the recipient of many awards for her contributions to feminist and moral philosophy and for her work in gay and lesbian studies. She is also the recipient of several fellowships and honorary degrees. In 2014, she was awarded the diploma of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Cultural Ministry. She is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of our time.

RelSec is comprised of five partner sites situated in universities around the world. The participating centers conduct parallel research projects whose exact shape reflects the distinct missions of the centers and research profiles of the teams. All will include some combination of public presentations and events, faculty workshops, and/or curricular initiatives, such as the development of team-taught courses on secularism, religion, and political belonging.
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