Judith Butler – gender and feminist theorist 

To commemorate the College’s bicentenary in 2023, we’re showcasing 200 ‘Birkbeck Effects’ which capture the incredible stories of our vibrant and diverse community, highlighting their achievements and impact on the world. 

pic of Judith Butler

Judith Butler is  a world-famous theorist and activist for gender, feminism and race equality. They were made a Fellow of Birkbeck in 2021 and have been active in the departments of psychosocial studies, law and the Birkbeck Institute of the Humanities.  

Raised by Jewish parents in the state of Ohio, USA, they studied philosophy before writing their most influential book, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, at just 33. The book, published in 1990, outlined the beginnings of their work on gender performativity and is now a seminal text for students and scholars in the arts, humanities and social sciences.  

The recipient of many awards and accolades, such as the Adorno prize and the Yale University Brudner Prize for lifetime achievement in gay and lesbian studies, Judith continues to advocate for social justice not just for LGBTQ+ communities but for diverse marginalized groups such as Palestinian Liberation and for racial equality. 


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