Photo of Deidre Butler

Deidre Butler

Associate Professor - On sabbatical

Degrees:B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Concordia)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 8106
Office:2A49 Paterson Hall


Deidre Butler’s research operates at the intersections of religion, ethics and feminist thought. Where her doctoral work developed Jewish feminist ethical frameworks in conversation with modern Jewish thought and asserted the need to integrate women’s historical experience within its purview, her current research program targets modern Jewish life and thought as its object of study and develops a sustained critique of the ways in which philosophical and cultural narratives efface and dislocate lived, particular, gendered, and embodied experiences. Her research program complicates and contests these distortions by marshaling a range of types of evidence (original ethnographic data, as well as theological, philosophical, and artistic responses).

Her current research project, in collaboration with Professor Betina Appel Kuzmarov (Law and Legal Studies),  “Even God sheds tears:” Wives, Husbands, Children, Rabbis and Activists share their stories of Jewish divorce is an interdisciplinary ethnographic project that investigates the phenomenon of Jewish religious divorce in Canada.  The project interrogates the problem of Get abuse; the phenomenon of husbands delaying or refusing to grant their wives Jewish religious divorces or delaying or refusing religious divorces in order to extort more favourable terms in a civil divorce.

Butler taught for several years at Concordia University in Religion and Women’s Studies before coming to Carleton. She is the Director for the Max and Tessie Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies, as well as Academic Chairs of both the Developing Leadership Program and the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (both within the Zelikovitz Centre).

Research Interests

• Modern Judaism
• Contemporary Jewish women
• Modern Jewish Thought
• Gender and the Holocaust

Selected Publications

2012. “Modern Jewish Thought and Jewish Feminist Thought: An Uncommon
Conversation”. Religion Compass, 6: 51–71. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-8171.2011.00334.x

2011. “Voicing a New Midrash: Women’s Holocaust Writing As Jewish Feminist
Response,” Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal. Vol. 8:1

2011. “Disturbing Boundaries: Developing Jewish Feminist Ethics with Buber, Levinas and
Fackenheim.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. Vol. 10:3, 327-352.

2010. “Spirituality, Textual Study and Gender at Nishmat: A Spirited Chavruta.” Women in
Judaism, Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal. Vol. 7:1