The UCLA Center for the Study of Women hosts Sara Ahmed as a featured speaker of the Feminism + the Senses Series. RSVP here.
The lecture explores how complaint can be understood as a form of diversity work: the work you do to transform an institution, or the work you do when you do not quite inhabit the norm of an institution. If doing diversity work is heard as complaint, making a complaint often requires becoming a diversity worker. This is not to say that those who make complaints always think of themselves as diversity workers in the sense of trying to transform the institution in which the complaint is lodged. But in order to proceed with a complaint you often have to become a diversity worker because making a complaint within an institution brings you up against it. The lecture explores how we learn about the institutional (as usual) from those who are trying to transform institutions. The lecture will discuss how complaint is a sensational intervention into institutional life.
About the Speaker
Sara Ahmed is an independent feminist scholar and writer. She has held academic appointments at Lancaster University and Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work is concerned with how power is experienced and challenged in everyday life and institutional cultures. She has recently completed a book What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use and has begun a new research project on complaint. Her previous publications include Living a Feminist Life (2017), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included (2012), The Promise of Happiness (2010), Queer Phenomenology (2006), The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2014, 2004), Strange Encounters (2000) and Differences that Matter (1998). She also blogs at www.feministkilljoys.com.
In 2016, Ahmed resigned in protest from her post as Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldmiths in response to the institution’s failure to deal with students’ sexual harassment and assault complaints against staff and faculty members. She continues to work to make the problem of sexual harassment at universities more visible through her involvement with organizations like The 1752 Group.