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The Columbia Journal of Gender and Law is proud to present Issue 21.2 which commemorates the Symposium Honoring Judith Butler’s contributions to gender and sexuality law.  Below is an excerpt from Katherine Franke’s introduction and the contents of the issue.  The issue is currently available online on Westlaw.  To obtain a copy of the issue, please contact jrngen@law.columbia.edu or columbia.jgl.subscriptions@gmail.com.

Introduction by Katherine Franke

Each year Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender Sexuality Law selects’ a scholar whose work has made an important impact on the study and practice of gender and/or sexuality law. For 2010 we selected Judith Butler, the Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. In March of 2010, we held a Symposium recognizing the multiple domains of theory and activism in which Butler’s mark has been profound, and oft times paradigm shifting…

The contributors to this Symposium come together to appreciate a body of work, and to take stock of the influence of that work on a discipline not typically hospitable to the insights and critiques of a scholar whose training and intellectual archive lie beyond the traditional pickets of law. Yet starting with Gender Trouble, and continuing through the more recent work on war, humanitarianism and grievable lives, Judith Butler has distinguished herself as among the most important contemporary scholars of law. Having pledged no fidelity to any of law’s sacred dominions, Butler’s writing has unmasked, disarmed and disassembled many of the foundational truths of law with tools more precise and devastating than those that any scholar from within the legal academy has been able to generate. Yet unlike the analytic cul-de-sac in which we found ourselves after reading the legal realists and their progeny, the Critical Legal Studies scholars, Butler’s work does much more than merely point out law’s internal contradictions, essentially political. nature, or ways in which the rule of law, in the end, serves the powerful and privileged.

Her scholarship offers a new place from which to undertake legal studies altogether. Once set free from the antonymous structure of the law of male and female, homo and hetero, or kinship and politics, we find ourselves in a kind of trouble, adrift in the domain of contingency and performance where the idea of a viable life is predicated not on the stable ground of a shared humanity that must be both recognized and defended by law, but rather on something far more precarious. After mourning the loss of immutability, self-sovereignty, and a liberal account of freedom, we find ourselves absolutely exhilarated by the new ways we have come to understand the bodies of law we study. This is not a zone of great comfort for most lawyers and legal scholars, but the contributions to this volume provide witness to its importance, and indeed its necessity.

Table of Contents

Sexual Consent: Some Thoughts on Psychoanalysis and Law
Judith Butler

The Provocations of Enduring Friendship
Joan W. Scott

Law as Tactics
Dean Spade

Performing Interdependence: Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor in the Examined Life
Kathryn Abrams

Performativity Between Logos and Nomos: Law, Temporality and the “Non-Economic Analysis of Power”
Ritu Birla

Law in Drag: Trials and Legal Performativity
Martha Merrill Umphrey

To Catch a Predator
Amy Adler

Reparations and the Human
David L. Eng

4 comments

  1. Read an except of Katherine Franke's intro to Columbia Journal of Gender & Law's Issue on the Judith Butler Symposium http://t.co/1EGLpBXW

  2. Read an except of Katherine Franke's intro to Columbia Journal of Gender & Law's Issue on the Judith Butler Symposium http://t.co/1EGLpBXW

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