Judith Butler

Maxine Elliot Professor
Languages: 
German, French
Periods: 
Modern
Academic Area: 
Literary Theory, Philosophical Fictions, Critical Theory, LGBTQI

Research Areas

Biography

 

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the
Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Founding
Director of the Critical Theory Program as well as the International Consortium of Critical
Theory Programs at UC Berkeley, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. She received her
Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University in 1984. She is the author of Subjects of Desire:
Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (1987), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the
Subversion of Identity (1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993),
The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (1997), Excitable Speech(1997), Antigone’s
Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death(2000), Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and
Mourning (2004); Undoing Gender (2004), Who Sings the Nation-State?: Language, Politics,
Belonging (with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in 2008), Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?
(2009), and Is Critique Secular? (co-written with Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, and Saba
Mahmood, 2009) and Sois Mon Corps (2011), co-authored with Catherine Malabou. Her most
recent books include: Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012),
Dispossessions: The Performative in the Political co-authored with Athena Athanasiou (2013),
Senses of the Subject (2015), Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015), and The
Force of Nonviolence (2020). She is the co-editor of Vulnerability in Resistance (Duke
University Press, 2016). Her books have been translated in 27 languages. Her future projects
include a study on the loss of human form in Kafka and Benjamin and an inquiry into
philosophical fictions in Freud’s work.

She is also active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics, serves on the
advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace and their committee on Academic Freedom as well as
the Advisory Council of The New University in Exile at the New School University and the
board of the Center for Constitutional Rights. She serves as the President of the Modern
Language Association in 2020 where she also served as chair of the Committee for Academic
Freedom and Professional Responsibilities (2013-15). She has served on the board of the Institut
fuer Sozialforschung in Frankfurt. She is affiliated faculty at the Psychosocial Studies at
Birkbeck College and the Hannah Arendt Chair at the European Graduate School in
Switzerland. She was the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic
Achievement in the Humanities (2009-13). She received the Adorno Prize from the City of
Frankfurt (2012) in honor of her contributions to feminist and moral philosophy, the Brudner
Prize from Yale University for lifetime achievement in gay and lesbian studies, and the Research
Lecturer honor at UC Berkeley in 2005. Other fellowships include Guggenheim, Rockefeller,
Ford, American Council of Learned Societies, and was selected as a Fellow at the Institute for
Advanced Study at Princeton and at the College des Hautes Etudes in Paris. She has received
honorary degrees from Université Bordeaux-III, Université Paris-VII, Grinnell College, McGill
University, University of St. Andrews, Université de Fribourg in Switzerland, Universidad de
Buenos Aires in Argentina, Universidad de Costa Rica, Université de Liége in Belgium,
Universidad de Chili, Universidad de Guadalajara, and Belgrade University. In 2013, she was
awarded the diploma of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Cultural
Ministry. In 2015 she was elected as a corresponding fellow of the British Academy and in 2019
was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.