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Sara Ahmed, “Complaint as Diversity Work”

  • UCLA Ackerman Grand Ballroom (map)

CSW is delighted to welcome Sara Ahmed as a featured speaker in our Feminism + the Senses series.

“Feminism and the Senses” is a lecture series that addresses how social movements around gender, sexuality, and race have a crucial relationship to sense data, sentimentality, and sensitivity—as in the accusation that women who speak out against injustices are just “too sensitive.”  In our current globalizing world of precarity and speculative finance, news reports tune-in their listeners to the sensitivity of financial markets to interest rate changes, habituating those in the global North to the sensitivity of impersonal entities such as financial markets. At the same time, the lag-time between technological inventions and their unsettling effects on people’s health and social well-being mean that only retrospectively do we realize the moral, social, and ecological costs consequent upon our lack of sensitivity to future risks, or to those populations predominantly bearing risk or whose injuries are discounted as politically negligible.

This project opens up for collective exploration the question of which sensory registers have been favored by our scholarly disciplines where they intersect with feminist and queer activism. At the same time, this series aims to catalyze reflection on the “sensitizing concepts” that have historically been of value to feminist and queer scholarship and those prospective concepts arising in other social justice movements that have yet to become sensitizing to feminism.

Public Talk: Complaint as Diversity Work
DATE: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
TIME: 3:00 – 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Ackerman Grand Ballroom
Free and Open to the Public
Register online

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

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.

Earlier Event: February 8
KIWA Mosaic Art Sale and Valentine Party
Later Event: February 17
Opening Reception: Jennifer Moon