Judith Butler (1956) is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Having received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University, she went to Germany to study Hegel and hermeneutics, which resulted in Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (1987). In this book she discusses the influence of Hegel and the effects of his work in French contemporary philosophy, concentrating on the theme of desire. The classic of queer theory which made her immediately famous, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), questions the notion of identity and identity politics within feminist theory and criticizes the dominance of heterosexuality. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of 'Sex' (1993) takes up questions concerning the body and further elaborates the notion of 'gender performativity', and Excitable Speech (1997) reflects on language, performativity and hate speech. She is also the co-author of Contingency, Hegemony, Universality. Contemporary Dialogues on the Left, in which Ernesto Laclau, Slavoj Zizek and Judith Butler engage in a dialogue on central questions of contemporary philosophy and politics.
Butler's Spinoza lectures follow up the themes of The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (1997) and Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000), in which she further develops her Foucauldian inspired reformulation of psychoanalysis. Her recent project is a critique of ethical violence that works with modernist philosophical and literary texts.
An excellent bibliography of her work is available at the following address: http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/indiv/scctr/Wellek/butler/"