Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at University of California, Berkeley. She is also, probably, one of the most influential contemporary theorists on gender theory. ‘Gender Trouble’, first published in 1990, introduced (in very simple terms) the notion that gender is a performance, that the notions of femininity and masculinity are created by cultural-social influenced acts that bound individuals within a heterosexual matrix (!). I plan to come back to Judith Butler a lot in my research. Her work is massively dense and painful to read – I once heard a quite esteemed academic refer to reading her work  as ‘like trying to swallow glass’. It takes you on a mental journey whereby you have to re-programme all your thoughts that you perceive to be your own and question how they were formulated by external influences, but that’s the point of theory. She questions all the fixed notions of identity – notions that are paramount to the subjects that I am addressing with regards to gendered employment in the Creative Media Industries.

I have been to see Judith Butler speak on 2 occasions. Both times it was similar to Blur at Hyde Park in the summer of 2009. She inspires an almost cult-like following of students, academics and others who are mad enough to enter this world. But it is worth it – she is quite simply a genius. She will be giving a lecture on the term ‘paternalism’with Sudeep Dasgupta at Iniva – the Institute of International Visual Arts – on Thursday the 3rd Feb 2011 as part of their ‘Keywords’ lectures. For more information go to Iniva’s website. I plan to attend and will post a write up about the event the following day.

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