Judith Butler, author of Bodies That Matter and Gender Trouble, delivered a pitch perfect honorary doctorate address at McGill University about the importance of the humanities in our society and in our universities. Butler is a post-structuralist philosopher, who has contributed to the fields of feminist philosophy, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics. She is a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley, and is also the Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School. (bio info from Wikipedia)
Here are some great quotes taken from the full video (included on the left):
“It may not be altogether clear that studying the humanities and critical thinking has something to do with becoming a citizen or becoming publicly engaged or learning how best to change or preserve this world. Yet, these are precisely the immeasurable values that critical thinking brings to the university. We cannot quantify such knowledge without losing the very value such knowledge has for us. Learning what it means to practice citizenship or learning what it means to be without the rights of citizenship whether we have lost them or never having been granted them in part or in full.”
“We have to continue to shake off what we sometimes think we know in order to lend our imaginations to vibrant and sometimes agonistic spectrums of experience.”
"Ideally, we lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves transformed and part of a more expansive world."
What do you think about Judith Butler's take on the role of Humanities in today's society and universities?