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Scholar Will Discuss Political Affects of War Jan. 29 at the U of M University News
For release: January 9, 2009

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

Internationally renowned intellectual Judith Butler will speak about “Vulnerability, Survivability: The Political Effects of War” Thursday, January 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center, Room 136, on the University of Memphis campus.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

Butler’s lecture will continue her exploration of alternative ethics and politics to the traumas of globalization in the post-9/11 world, which she pursued in her widely read Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence.

Judith Butler
Judith Butler photographed at a lecture at the University of Hamburg, April 2007.
Photo courtesy of Some rights reserved.

Butler will delve into the significance of the recent wars waged by the United States. She will explore how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the war on terror have tried to reestablish the idea of the national subject as impermeable and invulnerable. At the same time, however, military aggression generally heightens the precarious conditions of life. Butler will ask to what extent conditions of vulnerability and dependency might affect our ability to think critically about war and even to understand responsibility and critical action in times of war.

Butler received a doctorate in philosophy from Yale University in 1984. She is the Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an outspoken thinker, and has been a pioneering voice in the fields of queer theory, feminism, political philosophy, and ethics.  She came to international prominence with the publication of Gender Trouble, a work that was followed by Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative, Undoing Gender, and Giving an Account of Oneself.

Butler’s lecture is presented by the Faculty Senate in cooperation with the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

The Center for Research on Women and Women’s and Gender Studies, in partnership with their sister organization at Rhodes College, will host an open lunch discussion of Butler’s most recent book, Who Sings the Nation-State, January 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the Junior League of Memphis, 3475 Central. This discussion will be by Mary Beth Mader, associate professor of philosophy at the U of M.

The luncheon is free, but reservations are required. To RSVP, contact Leila Boyd at  or 901-678-3732.

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