Judith Butler. Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling. 2014
http://www.egs.edu Judith Butler, philosopher and author, speaking about avowal and disavowal in conversation with Michel Foucault’s Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling in which Foucault attempts to establish a set of modifications which have taken place in the practice of avowal leading to an increasing connection with juridical and penal practices. Public Open Lecture at the European Graduate School in August 2014.
Exploring the performativity of the act of avowal and disavowal in relation to madness, criminality and sexuality, Butler shows how forms of subjectivity are created, submit to a regime of Truth and legitimize authority through these acts.
At the juncture of Power and Discourse, Butler finds that this use of language, in the service of power, brings into being what it says on condition of established conventions and constitutes by virtue of discursive conditions which ensure legibility of the subject by authority. The act of disavowal acts as the implicit counter action to the speech act of avowal and Butler asks whether avowal could possibly serve, not only as an act which identifies a subject but also as a refusal.
Judith Butler, Ph.D. http://www.egs.edu Hannah Arendt Chair at the European Graduate School EGS, attended Bennington College and then Yale University, where she received her B.A., and her Ph.D. in philosophy in 1984. Her first training in philosophy took place at the synagogue in her hometown of Cleveland. She taught at Wesleyan and Johns Hopkins universities before becoming Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Judith Butler is the author of Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death(Columbia University Press, 2000), Hegemony, Contingency, Universality, with Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek, (Verso Press, 2000), Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (Columbia University Press, 1987), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, 1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (Routledge, 1993), The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (Stanford University Press, 1997), Excitable Speech: Politics of the Performance (Routledge, 1997), as well as numerous articles and contributions on philosophy, feminism and queer theory. Her recent project is a critique of ethical violence and an effort to formulate a theory of responsibility for an opaque subject that works with Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault and Friedrich Nietzsche.