Philosopher Judith Butler to deliver Tanner Lectures on 'Interpreting Non-Violence'

“Interpreting Non-Violence” will be the theme of the 2016 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, which will be delivered by Judith Butler, a noted philosopher and gender theorist.

“Interpreting Non-Violence” will be the theme of the 2016 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, which will be delivered by Judith Butler, a noted philosopher and gender theorist.

Her first talk — “Why Preserve the Life of the Other?” — will be on Wednesday, March 30, at 5 p.m. The second, “Legal Violence: An Ethical and Political Critique” takes place March 31 at 5:30 p.m. Both talks will be held in the Whitney Humanities Center (WHC) auditorium, 53 Wall St. Karuna Mantena, associate professor of political science, will introduce Butler on Wednesday and deliver a response after her second lecture. Butler will be joined by Yale scholars Paul North, professor of Germanic language and literature, and Jason Stanley, the Urowsky Professor of Philosophy, for further discussion on Friday, April 1, at 10:30 a.m. at the WHC.

Butler is the 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 at Berkeley and is currently co-chair of an emerging International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs. Her published works include “Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity” (1990); “Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993); “Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative” (1997); “Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning” (2004); “Undoing Gender” (2004); “Who Sings the Nation-State? Language, Politics, Belonging” (with Gayatri Spivak, 2008); “Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?” (2009); “Is Critique Secular?” (with Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, and Saba Mahmood, 2009); “Sois Mon Corps” (with Catherine Malabou, 2011); “Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism” (2012); “Dispossession: The Performative in the Political” (with Athena Athanasiou, 2013); and most recently, “Senses of the Subject” (2015) and “Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly” (2015). Future projects include study of messianic gestures in Kafka and Benjamin, philosophical fictions in Freud’s work, and gender in translation. 

Butler has received the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities, the Adorno Prize from the City of Frankfurt in honor of her contributions to feminist and moral philosophy, and the Brudner Prize from Yale for lifetime achievement in gay and lesbian studies. In 2014, she was awarded the diploma of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Cultural Ministry and in 2015 she was elected a corresponding fellow of the British Academy and appointed to the International Board of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt.

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values were established by the American scholar, industrialist, and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner, who hoped that these lectures would contribute to the intellectual and moral life of humankind. Both lectures and the discussion are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Whitney Humanities Center at 203-432-0670 or via email.

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