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Giving an Account of Oneself


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About the Author

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature and Critical Theory at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of The Psychic Life of Power (1997), Antigone's Claim (2000), Giving an Account of Oneself (2005), Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012), and Senses of the Subject (2015). She works in the fields of feminist and queer theory, European philosophy, social theory, and ethics.


A powerful exploration of the intersection of identity and responsibility, Giving an Account of Oneself shows us Judith Butler at her best, in dialogue with some of the other foremost thinkers of our age: Adorno, Foucault, Levinas, and Laplanche. Confronting the problem of identities that emerge only in relation to social and moral norms they may seek to contest, she proposes a rethinking of responsibility in relation to the limits of self-understanding that make us human. -- -Jonathan Culler * Cornell University *
A brave book by a courageous thinker. -- -Hayden White * University of California and Stanford University *

"In stunningly original interpretations of Adorno and Levinas, . . .Judith Butler compellingly demonstrates that questions of ethics
cannot avoid addressing the moral self's complicity with violence.
By laying out the premises of a creative rereading, this study
proves that the discussion of these two authors and their future
legacy has, in a sense, barely begun. Butler writes in a truly
Spinozistic spirit, mobilizing the greatest forces and joys of
philosophical intelligence to counteract and redirect the cruelest
and most destructive of human passions. Brilliantly argued and
beautifully written, Giving an Account of Oneself is destined
to become a classic, a must read for philosophers and students of
present-day culture and politics alike."

-- -Hent de Vries * The Johns Hopkins University *
In a time when moral certitude is used to justify the worst violence, Butler's nuanced reworking of what it means to be ethically responsible to ourselves and to others is welcome indeed. -- -Drucilla Cornell * Rutgers University *

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