At Guernica, Nathan Schneider interviews Judith Butler. His introduction to the interview is a nice testament to the power of Butler’s work and an eloquent summary of her current preoccupations:
Judith Butler’s philosophy is an assault on common sense, on the atrophy of thinking. It untangles not only how ideas compel us to action, but how unexamined action leaves us with unexamined ideas—and, then, disastrous politics. Her work over the last few years has been devoted to challenging the Bush/Cheney-era torpor that came over would-be dissenters in the face of two wars and an acquiescent electorate. She does so not with policy prescriptions or electoral tactics, but with an analysis of the habits of thinking and doing that stand behind them. It is in response to the suffering of others, she insists, of innocent victims in particular, that we must come to terms with the world as it is and act in it.
Continue reading here. A new essay by Butler on the value of the Jewish ethical tradition for the critique of state violence will appear in the forthcoming SSRC/Columbia UP volume The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere.