Judith Butler: Philosophical Encounters of the Third Kind

Directed by Paule Zadjermann

52 minutes / Color
Release: 2007
Copyright: 2006

Author of the best-seller Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Judith Butler (Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at University of California, Berkeley) is one of the world's most important and influential contemporary thinkers in fields such as continental philosophy, literary theory, feminist and queer theory, and cultural politics.

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JUDITH BUTLER: Philosophical Encounters of the Third Kind is an up-close and personal encounter with this educator and author. The film features interviews with Butler - including reminiscences of her formative childhood years, illustrated by family home movies, as a "problem child"-shows her in classroom sessions in Berkeley and Paris, at public speaking engagements, and in discussion with Gender Studies professor Isabell Lorey.

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Does gender = sexuality? How does the family define gender roles? What are the dangers when society coerces gender norms? What deep-seated social fears are unleashed by those who flout those prescribed roles? What is New Gender Politics? These are just a few of the topical issues explored in the film.

In the film, Butler covers a wide range of subjects, broaching not only controversial gender issues-including transsexuality and intersexuality-but also 20th century Jewish philosophy, AIDS activism, criticism of state power and violence, gay marriage, and anti-Zionism.

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PHILOSOPHICAL ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, the first film profile on Judith Butler, will serve to popularize her insightful analysis of sexual identity and gender roles at a time when the cultural and political debate over these issues pervades American society.

"Important… The strength of this film lies in its ability to give viewers a flavor of Butler's thought without caricaturing that thought. The film pulls together diverse aspects of Butler's arguments that provide a sense of the way she wishes to reorient our thinking."—Samuel A. Chambers, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies

"An excellent introduction to the work and philosophy of a woman who has tired to avoid and often combat societal 'pigeon-holing' based on gender and sexuality… an excellent resource for classroom use… For librarians, philosophy, and women's studies instructors, JUDITH BUTLER should be considered a needed addition to their collections."—Elizabeth Ross, River Walk Journal

"A warm and illuminating portrait that enables us to discover the personality and thought of this engaged intellectual."—Le Monde

"An essential figure on the American intellectual and political scene… [includes] truly revelatory examples of the liveliness of a theoretical reflection in direct touch with the contemporary world."—Télérama

"A sensitive and invigorating portrait [of] one of the most effervescent spirits of our time."—Les Inrockuptibles

"Illuminating…has much to say about feminist theory, identity, gay rights, AIDS activism, homosexuality, and Israel."—Booklist

"Will serve well in the undergraduate classroom."—Journal of International Women's Studies

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