For a full bibliography that includes interviews and articles click here. The following are widely considered Butler’s most important works:
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 1st ed. Routledge, 2006. First published in 1990, Gender Trouble sold over 100,000 copies and inspired the fanzine Judy!. Here, you’ll find the fundamentals of Butler’s argument that gender is performative and a following argument that drag, in destabilizing the performative iterations of gender, becomes a political way out of the gender binary structure.
Butler, Judith P. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. 1st ed. Routledge, 1993. Bodies that Matter follows up on Gender Trouble by clearing up the misunderstanding that gender performativity equates to a daily choice. Butler demonstrates the iterability of performativity, the repetition involved, and the difficulty escaping naturalized constructs of sex and gender through daily performative choices.
Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. 1st ed. Routledge, 1997. Butler uses Foucault’s argument from History of Sexuality that the censorship propagates the language it seeks to suppress. Applying this argument to modern day hate speech and censorship, Butler shows how complex and multilayered the notion of censorship and replaces the idea of an independent, censored or censoring subject with the notion of censhorship as tied up in language itself.
Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. 1st ed. Routledge, 2004. Butler takes up the case of David Reimer, who was born male and medically reassigned female at eight months old. Reimer’s case exemplifies the medical treatment of intersex and the oversimplification of gender therein.
Butler, Judith. Giving an Account of Oneself. Fordham University Press, 2005. Here Butler addresses the question of subjectivity in the form of the personal “I” formation. She argues for the “opacity of the subject,” that we only know ourselves in relation to others. This results in an ethic of action that requires the interrogation of social and political forces, since it is ony through those forces we are made known to ourselves.
Forthcoming: Frames of War: An Ungrievable Life. Listen to Butler discuss this upcoming work here. “To be embodied is to be exposed to social craft and form.”
Entry filed under: Bibliography.