• Judith Butler and Mel Y. Chen

Virtual Conversation: Judith Butler and Mel Y. Chen on Gender Politics and Pandemic Time

Judith Butler and Mel Y. Chen extend their conversation "Gender in Time"—found in the exhibition catalog of New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century—to the evolving temporalities of the COVID-19 pandemic. They discuss a range of concerns that the pandemic has highlighted, including shifting challenges for women and racialized queer, trans, and disabled communities; queer and crip time; differing valuations of productivity; and the transformations of regimes and cultures of care in the pandemic.

Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at UC Berkeley. Her work been influential in the fields of political philosophy, ethics, third-wave feminism, queer theory, and literary theory. Butler is the author of numerous books that have been widely translated, including The Force of Non-Violence, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex,” and Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.

Chen is an associate professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and director of the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. They are the author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (2012) and are currently completing a book, Chemical Intimacies, about intoxication’s role in the interanimation of race and disability in histories and legacies of the transnational nineteenth century. Elsewhere, they have written on slowness, gesture, inhumanisms, transgender, cognitive disability, and method. They are part of a small and sustaining trans and queer of color arts collective in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Participants and topics are subject to change; visit Berkeley Arts + Design (artsdesign.berkeley.edu) for the most up-to-date series information.