Judith Butler
#565 Overall Influence

Judith Butler

American philosopher and gender theorist


Why is this person notable and influential?

Judith Butler is the Maxine Ellio Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. Butler earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy at Yale University in 1978, and her PhD at Yale in 1984. In addition to UC Berkeley, Butler has taught at Wesleyan University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and the University of Amsterdam.

Drawing on critical traditions including phenomenology, feminism, cultural criticism, and philosophy of language, much of Butler’s work focuses on issues of gender. At the core of her work is the argument that gender is performative, an idea heavily influenced by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Simone de Beauvoir. In this approach, Butler differentiates between sex as a biological designation, and gender as the product of culture and action. Consequently, however much a person identifies with or resists their declared gender is a matter of performativity in regards to established norms and expectations. From this, Butler argues gender is real in that we perform it and make it real, which also makes it fluid, and capable to change through our performative choices.

For her work, Butler has received numerous awards and honors, including honorary doctorates from McGill University and the University of Belgrade, the Theodor W. Adorno Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Academic Website

Featured in Top Influential Philosophers Today

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Major published works by Judith Butler:

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What schools is this person affiliated with?
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley

Public research university in Berkeley, California, United States

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Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University

Private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut

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Yale University
Yale University

Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

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Notable Works

What contributions to academia has this person made?

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this person influential?
#81 World Rank #35 USA Rank
#252 World Rank #39 USA Rank
#747 World Rank #157 USA Rank