This is a really wonderful lecture by Yale professor Paul Fry on queer theory and gender performativity which, besides providing ample food for thought, reminded me why I can never explain to myself — let alone to others — the basic suppositions and implications of queer theory in under 15 minutes or within a few paragraphs. In it he
explores the work of Judith Butler in relation to Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality. Differences in terminology and methods are discussed, including Butler’s emphasis on performance and Foucault’s reliance on formulations such as “power-knowledge” and “the deployment of alliance.” Butler’s fixation with ontology is explored with reference to Levi-Strauss’s concept of the raw and the cooked. At the lecture’s conclusion, Butler’s interrogation of identity politics is compared with that of postcolonial and African-American theorists.
The distribution of time/topics is as follows:
00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction to Judith Butler: What Is Sexuality?
03:46 - Chapter 2. Foucault and the Deployment of Alliance
14:53 - Chapter 3. Performing Gender
24:10 - Chapter 4. The Political Agenda of Gender Theory
33:39 - Chapter 5. Foucault’s Method, Butler’s Method
46:20 - Chapter 6. The Gendering of Reading