Friday, July 09, 2004

who says theory is dead?

"Gender-theory superstar Judith Butler takes on 9/11 and its aftermath in a new book -- written in clear English! But the task of postmodern theory, she argues, is more crucial now than ever."

By Astra Taylor
July 6, 2004
Copyright 2004
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EXCERPT: "The essays that make up "Precarious Life" seem to be underscored by a single question, one that motivates and connects them: Who counts as human? This is the problem that concerns her in her consideration of grief and mourning, her essay on the lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories and the Guantánamo piece, "Indefinite Detention." What Butler is analyzing are the ways in which some individuals are not protected by law. Unnamed and unmourned, they are not counted as fully human."

"As Butler warns in her preface, the 'foreclosure of critique empties the public domain of debate of democratic contestation itself, so that debate becomes the exchange of views of the like-minded, and criticism, which ought to be central to any democracy, becomes a fugitive and suspect activity.'"