May 27, 2012

Judith Butler on solidarity

I survived my dissertation defense! But it was H A R D, so many thanks for your messages of support.  They truly helped. 

The day after my defense I started teaching a very intensive summer course that is new to me, so I've been scrambling to keep my head above water - but last Thursday I got to see Judith Butler speak and it was such a treat! She is clearly thinking alot about solidarity these days, though not necessarily using that term.  She had fascinating things to say about the role of empathy - she seems as dubious about it as I am and talked about being with and through each other in beautifully poetic ways.  She also talked about the importance of personal stories and sharing the stories of others in ethical ways - something I've been passionate about for years and am going to focus on in my postdoc.  I can't wait to listen to her talk again - the CBC is going to broadcast it and I'll link it when they do. 

In response to one of the questions she got here in Vancouver she referenced this recent talk of hers (below) at the European Graduate school, where you can see she's grappling with these issues.  For those who aren't theory geeks, be warned - this is not, ahem, the most accessible of talks.  But it's Butler! She's amazing!

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