Judith Butler

Judith Butler has emerged as perhaps the pre-eminent philosopher of gender in the contemporary Anglo-American world. Currently Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California at Berkeley, she has had a major impact on feminist and queer thought and activism, political theory, literature and cultural studies. She is best known for her theory of gender performativity, outlined in her seminal 1990 book Gender Trouble, which argued that ideas of gender have been culturally constructed, produced and reproduced by ‘regulative discourses’ that demand stylized, repetitive performances of gender that are subsequently presented as ‘natural’, immutable and essential. Her fundamental re-thinking of the most basic concepts of Western thought has revolutionized the way we understand sexuality, gender, politics and ethics. Polity published her 2013 book Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (with Athena Athenasiou).