Zomg! Judith Butler Is Coming To Columbia

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Judith Butler, at a recent Beth Povinelli Look-alike Contest

Don’t expect to take a class in the English Department next year without the prefix “post-” in the course title.

Capital New York reports that Judith Butler, uber-big-deal academic currently at UC Berkeley, is coming to Columbia in the fall next year. She’ll fit in just fine: she’s a post-structuralist scholar with a post-Zionist perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the winner of the New Criterion‘s “Bad Writing Contest” for the following paragraph, possibly lifted from your most recent University Writing essay:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Butler’s move is great news if you’re into Kafka; bad news if you’re into the California public education system. See you in September, Judith!

Update: Capital has added the email from English Department Chair Jean Howard to English grad students, explaining the technicalities of Butler’s move. Academia!

Dear Graduate Students,

I am thrilled to announce that Judith Butler will be joining our department as a regular faculty member.  For each of the next two years she will be a full-time visitor in the spring terms.  After that she will be here on a permanent year-round basis.

In spring of this academic year Professor Butler will give a colloquium just for our department to which all faculty and grad students will be invited. It will be our chance to welcome her to our community.

Best, Jean Howard

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  1. CULPA  

    She's listed as a prof for Post-underwater basketweaving: At the intersection of Baudrillard and Basketry.

  2. Wow...  

    Flesch-Kincaid score

    Grade level: 46
    Ease of Reading: -64

  3. Anonymous  

    I am excited. Although I know nothing about her, the fact that controversy abounds means that she can spice things up and will be challenging to students and faculty. That could never hurt.

  4. Anonymous  

    haha amazing comment- beth povinelli look-alike contest, lmao

  5. oh my god!  

    Judith Butler, whatever you teach, I will take. Possibly fail, but still take.

  6. gender trouble?

    Of chose, Butler is most (in)famous for her argument that gender is performative, not rigidly divided biologically. She'll definitely be a great addition to the critical culture of columbia.

  7. Anonymous

    Judith Butler changed my life!

  8. Gender Studies Major  

    BEYOND EXCITED. she is a living legend. thank you columbia!

  9. Hillel  

    definately can not be excited about probably the most anti-Israel academic in the Jewish community coming to Columbia.

  10. anonymous

    Butler and Spivak, in the same department? Things just got way more needlessly incomprehensible. But, if you're into not saying a whole lot and covering that up with a lot of confusing language (the cited paragraph above pretty much just says that structuralism was ahistorical and that this new view takes history/time into account...) I guess you can rejoice.

    • Anonymous  

      that paragraph has nothing to do with time or history. she's saying a whole lot, you just don't get it.

      • anonymous

        Uhh repetition, contingency, rearticulation, renewed, 'brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure' - that's surprisingly pretty clear and explicit. In reply to your 'has nothing to do with time' - sorry apparently you don't get it.

        Have you taken a peek at the response to Laclau from which the paragraph is cut? "One of the points, however, that became most salient for me is the reintroduction of temporality [...] into the thinking of social formations" (13). More: "That no social formation can endure without becoming reinstated, and that every reinstatement puts the 'structure' in question at risk, suggests the possibility of its undoing is at once the condition of possibility of structure itself" (14).

        Sure, this doesn't have to have a diachronic dimension - you could be talking about this reinstatement of a hegemonic structure happening in the same chronological time as the instance of the hegemonic structure; you could equally be talking about repetition with differences over time. It has everything to do with history, but isn't an article exclusively about history.

        And no, I still don't think the article says a whole lot that hadn't been said by others since at least Bergson.

  11. 2011  

    Why is she coming to teach after I've already graduated? :(
    Why PrezBo? Why!?

  12. Anonymous  

    The worst part about that "paragraph" you quoted is that is, in fact, only one sentence.

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