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Study Group: Judith Butler | Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
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  1. Photograph by Collier Schorr. Courtesy of The Cut for New York Magazine.

Judith Butler Study Group

Tuesdays, September 25, October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20 and December 4, 2018, 7 to 9 pm

Pollyanna圖書館Library, 221 East Georgia Street, Vancouver

This fall at Pollyanna圖書館Library, 221A, the UBC Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and the Belkin Art Gallery collaboratively host a study group on the work of Judith Butler, in anticipation of her academic visit and public lecture at UBC in the Winter of 2019.

Judith Butler holds the Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as the Hannah Arendt Chair at The European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland. From 2018-20, Butler will serve as the Vice President of the Modern Languages Association, New York, and from 2020-21 as the MLA’s President.

Butler rose to prominence in 1990 with the book Gender Trouble, a book which unearthed and interrogated foundational assumptions of gender in philosophy and feminist theory. Butler’s scholarship challenges the confines of disciplinary thinking, reading across philosophy, psychoanalysis and literature. Butler is also known for her commitment to political activism and vocal opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

This study group will provoke meaningful and generative engagement with the writing of Butler, particularly addressing her recent work around the nation and transformative politics. As an exercise in collective learning, this program engages with the Belkin’s Beginning with the Seventies project, a series of four exhibitions based upon a multi-year research project investigating the 1970s, an era when social movements of all kinds—feminism, environmentalism, LGBTQ rights, Indigenous rights, access to health services and housing—began to coalesce into models of self-organization that overlapped with the production of art and culture.

No registration is necessary to participate. All sessions of the study group are open to all and free to attend. Each session will be facilitated by study leaders who have selected texts from Butler’s work as primary readings paired alongside supplementary materials. For access to study materials please email


Tuesday, September 25, facilitated by Maddie Reddon
Judith Butler, “Unwritten Laws, Aberrant Transmissions,” Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2002)

Tuesday, October 9, facilitated by Sheila Giffen
Judith Butler, “An Account of Oneself” and “Foucault’s Critical Account of Himself,” Giving an Account of Oneself (2003)
Michel Foucault, “How Much Does it Cost for Reason to Tell the Truth?,” Foucault Live (1989)

Tuesday, October 23, facilitated by John Culbert
Gayatri Spivak and Judith Butler, excerpt from Who Sings the Nation-state? Language, Politics, Belonging (2007)
Judith Butler, “Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street,” Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015)

Tuesday, November 6, facilitated by Vincent Tao
Judith Butler, “Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street,” Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015)
Markus Kip, “Solidarity,” Keywords for Radicals (2016)
Asad Haider, “Universality,” Mistaken Identity (2018)

Tuesday, November 20, facilitated by Marianne Nicolson
Marianne Nicolson is the inaugural Koerner Artist in Residence at the UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory

Tuesday, December 4, facilitated by Magnolia Pauker
Judith Butler, “Responsiveness as Responsibility,” “The Political Promise of the Performative,” “The Political Affects of Plural Performativity” and “The University, the Humanities, and the Book Bloc,” Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (2013)
Gayle Rubin with Judith Butler, “Sexual Traffic,” Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader (2012)

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689