First UK appearance
for American philosopher
American political philosopher Professor Judith Butler
made her first public appearance in Britain, at the official
launch of a new £500,000 centre for cultural analysis
at the University of Leeds. The ceremony, to launch the
AHRB Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History
(CentreCATH), was attended by the Vice-Chancellor of the
University, with Professor Butler as the guest speaker.
and culture – Professor Judith Butler (left) with centre
director Professor Griselda Pollock
Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments
of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University
of California, Berkeley and the author of a number of
influential books on feminist and political theory, which
offer radical ideas on issues such as gender, the body
Butler lectured on her new work on ‘kinship’, looking
at the ways different societies and cultures organise
the relationships that form the smallest units of society.
Her work tackles painful divisions in society – such as
racism and immigration – as well as the future of families
and new forms of social life that are not solely based
on the nuclear and heterosexual family.
director Professor Griselda Pollock said: "As one
of the leading philosophers trying to build her own bridges
between political theory and concrete political struggles
around race, gender, sexuality and social forms, Professor
Butler was the ideal person to open this new centre, that
highlights the need to work between disciplines – to translate
ideas from theory into history, and to promote the spirit
of engaged analysis of the world that shapes us in the
Butler said: "I am enormously honoured to be asked
here to launch this impressive research establishment.
I think it will provide the model for many universities
who are in the process of understanding how various disciplines
can come together under the rubrick of cultural theory.
Cultural theory, analysis and history are producing new
departmental communities in many universities. I think
the range and depth of this project is really quite exciting.
I have the sense that it will make its mark, not only
here locally but abroad as well."
further information, see the CentreCATH