Lecture by feminist writer and scholar Sara Ahmed on how power is experienced and challenged in everyday life, institutions and academics. How can a university be transformed into a more open and inclusive space? What role do complaints play within this process? And what makes one heard?
This lecture draws on interviews conducted with staff and students who have made complaints within universities that relate to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions and to abuses of power such as sexual and racial harassment. It approaches complaint as a form of diversity work: the work some have to do in order to be accommodated. Making a complaint requires becoming an institutional mechanic: you have to work out how to get a complaint through a system. It is because of the difficulty of getting through that complaints often end up being about the system. The lecture explores the significance of how complaints happen ‘behind closed doors,’ and shows how doors are often closed even when they appear to be opened.
Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer and independent scholar working at the intersection of feminist, queer and race studies. Her research is concerned with how bodies and worlds take shape; and how power is secured and challenged in everyday life worlds as well as institutional cultures. Until the end of 2016, she was a Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, a post she resigned from in protest at the failure to deal with the problem of sexual harassment. She has written several books, among others Living a Feminist Life(2017) and On Being Included: On Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012)
Date: Thurs 14 March 2019
Time: Doors open: 15.00 hrs
Moderation: prof. Willem Schinkel
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