One of the most talked-about scholarly works of the past fifty years, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble is as celebrated as it is controversial. Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, 'essential' notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category 'woman' and continues in this vein with examinations of 'the masculine' and 'the feminine'. Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality. Thrilling and provocative, few other academic works have roused passions to the same extent.
In Bodies That Matter, Judith Butler further develops her distinctive theory of gender by examining the workings of power at the most "material" dimensions of sex and sexuality. Deepening the inquiries she began in Gender Trouble, Butler offers an original reformulation of the materiality of bodies, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the "matter" of bodies, sex, and gender. Butler argues that power operates to constrain "sex" from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She offers a clarification of the notion of "performativity" introduced in Gender Trouble and explores the meaning of a citational politics. The text includes readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud on the formation of materiality and bodily boundaries; "Paris is Burning," Nella Larsen's "Passing," and short stories by Willa Cather; along with a reconsideration of "performativity" and politics in feminist, queer, and radical democratic theory.
Undoing Gender constitutes Judith Butler's recent reflections on gender and sexuality, focusing on new kinship, psychoanalysis and the incest taboo, transgender, intersex, diagnostic categories, social violence, and the tasks of social transformation. In terms that draw from feminist and queer theory, Butler considers the norms that govern--and fail to govern--gender and sexuality as they relate to the constraints on recognizable personhood. The book constitutes a reconsideration of her earlier view on gender performativity from Gender Trouble. In this work, the critique of gender norms is clearly situated within the framework of human persistence and survival. And to "do" one's gender in certain ways sometimes implies "undoing" dominant notions of personhood. She writes about the "New Gender Politics" that has emerged in recent years, a combination of movements concerned with transgender, transsexuality, intersex, and their complex relations to feminist and queer theory.
Author: Judith Butler
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2012-05-22
This classic work by one of the most important philosophers and critics of our time charts the genesis and trajectory of the desiring subject from Hegel's formulation in Phenomenology of Spirit to its appropriation by Kojève, Hyppolite, Sartre, Lacan, Deleuze, and Foucault. Judith Butler plots the French reception of Hegel and the successive challenges waged against his metaphysics and view of the subject, all while revealing ambiguities within his position. The result is a sophisticated reconsideration of the post-Hegelian tradition that has predominated in modern French thought, and her study remains a provocative and timely intervention in contemporary debates over the unconscious, the powers of subjection, and the subject.
Author: Judith Halberstam
Publisher: Duke University Press
Release Date: 1998
Genre: Social Science
Masculinity without men. In Female Masculinity Judith Halberstam takes aim at the protected status of male masculinity and shows that female masculinity has offered a distinct alternative to it for well over two hundred years. Providing the first full-length study on this subject, Halberstam catalogs the diversity of gender expressions among masculine women from nineteenth-century pre-lesbian practices to contemporary drag king performances. Through detailed textual readings as well as empirical research, Halberstam uncovers a hidden history of female masculinities while arguing for a more nuanced understanding of gender categories that would incorporate rather than pathologize them. She rereads Anne Lister's diaries and Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness as foundational assertions of female masculine identity. She considers the enigma of the stone butch and the politics surrounding butch/femme roles within lesbian communities. She also explores issues of transsexuality among "transgender dykes"--lesbians who pass as men--and female-to-male transsexuals who may find the label of "lesbian" a temporary refuge. Halberstam also tackles such topics as women and boxing, butches in Hollywood and independent cinema, and the phenomenon of male impersonators. Female Masculinity signals a new understanding of masculine behaviors and identities, and a new direction in interdisciplinary queer scholarship. Illustrated with nearly forty photographs, including portraits, film stills, and drag king performance shots, this book provides an extensive record of the wide range of female masculinities. And as Halberstam clearly demonstrates, female masculinity is not some bad imitation of virility, but a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders.
Author: Sara Mills
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Release Date: 2011-05-09
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Language, Gender and Feminism introduces students to key theoretical perspectives, methodology and analytical frameworks in the field of feminist linguistic analysis, providing readers with a comprehensive survey of the current state of the field.
Author: Charlotte Witt
Publisher: OUP USA
Release Date: 2011-10-21
The Metaphysics of Gender is a book about gender essentialism: What it is and why it might be true. It opens with the question: What is gender essentialism? The first chapter distinguishes between essentialism about kinds of individuals (e.g. women and men as groups) and essentialism about individuals (e.g. you and me). Successivechapters introduce the ingredients for a theory of gender essentialism about individuals, called uniessentialism. Gender uniessentialism claims that a social individual's gender is uniessential to that individual. It is modeled on Aristotle's essentialism in which the form or essence of an individual is the principle of unity of that individual. For example, the form or essence of an artifact, like a house, is what unifies the material parts of the house into a new individual (over and above a sum of parts). Since an individual's gender is a social role (or set of social norms), the kind of unity in question is not the unity of material parts, as it is in the artifact example. Instead, the central claim of gender uniessentialism is that an individual's gender provides that individual with a principle of normative unity-a principle that orders and organizes all of that individual's other social roles. An important ingredient in gender uniessentialism concerns exactly which individuals are at issue-human organisms, persons, or social individuals? The Metaphysics of Gender argues that a social individual's gender is uniessential to it. Gender uniessentialism expresses the centrality of gender in our lived experiences and explores the social normativity of gender in a way that is useful for feminist theory and politics.
Author: Anne Fausto-Sterling
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2008-08-04
Genre: Social Science
Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced.Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms - sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed - and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist as one of five natural human variants and, as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.
Author: Judith Butler
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Political Science
An appraisal of post-September 11 America presents the U.S. government's decision to attack Afghanistan and Iraq as a response to loss and grief, arguing that the vulnerability being experienced in the western world is posing an opportunity to imagine a global political community without violence. Reprint.
Author: Judith P. Butler
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Release Date: 2009-08-25
What does it mean to lead a moral life?In her first extended study of moral philosophy, Judith Butler offers a provocative outline for a new ethical practice-one responsive to the need for critical autonomy and grounded in a new sense of the human subject.Butler takes as her starting point one's ability to answer the questions What have I done?and What ought I to do?She shows that these question can be answered only by asking a prior question, Who is this 'I' who is under an obligation to give an account of itself and to act in certain ways?Because I find that I cannot give an account of myself without accounting for the social conditions under which I emerge, ethical reflection requires a turn to social theory.In three powerfully crafted and lucidly written chapters, Butler demonstrates how difficult it is to give an account of oneself, and how this lack of self-transparency and narratibility is crucial to an ethical understanding of the human. In brilliant dialogue with Adorno, Levinas, Foucault, and other thinkers, she eloquently argues the limits, possibilities, and dangers of contemporary ethical thought.Butler offers a critique of the moral self, arguing that the transparent, rational, and continuous ethical subject is an impossible construct that seeks to deny the specificity of what it is to be human. We can know ourselves only incompletely, and only in relation to a broader social world that has always preceded us and already shaped us in ways we cannot grasp. If inevitably we are partially opaque to ourselves, how can giving an account of ourselves define the ethical act? And doesn't an ethical system that holds us impossibly accountable for full self-knowledge and self-consistency inflict a kind of psychic violence, leading to a culture of self-beratement and cruelty? How does the turn to social theory offer us a chance to understand the specifically social character of our own unknowingness about ourselves?In this invaluable book, by recasting ethics as a project in which being ethical means becoming critical of norms under which we are asked to act, but which we can never fully choose, Butler illuminates what it means for us as fallible creaturesto create and share an ethics of vulnerability, humility, and ethical responsiveness. Judtith Butler is the Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. The most recent of her books are Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence and Undoing Gender.
The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance presents the most influential and widely-known, critical work on gender and performing arts, together with exciting and provocative new writings. It provides systematically arranged articles to guide the reader from topic to topic, and specially linked articles by scholars and teachers to explain key issues and put the extracts in context. This comprehensive volume: * reviews women's contributions to theatre history * includes contributions from many of the top academics in this discipline * examines how theatre has represented women over the centuries * introduces readers to major theoretical approaches and more complex questions about gender, the body and cross-dressing * offers an international perspective, including material from post-apartheid South Africa and post-communist Russia.