CCLC Public Lecture: Sara Ahmed - Complaint as Diversity Work

Arts Building - Lecture Room 1
Wednesday 30 January 2019 (17:00-19:00)

This lecture is open to all. The venue is wheelchair accessible and attendees are welcome to bring dependents where necessary. For further access requirements please contact


Hosted by the Centre for Contemporary Literature and Cultures

What can be learnt about the workings of power from those who challenge power? 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 harassment and bullying. The lecture 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 how the experiences that lead to complaint and the experiences of complaint are hard to untangle. It reflects on the role of academic networks and professional intimacies in shaping what happens to complaints and to those who complain.

Sara Ahmed is the author of 10 books including: Living a Feminist Life (2017), The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2014), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012), and The Promise of Happiness (2010). Up until the end of 2016, Sara was Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London and prior to that she was based in Women’s Studies at Lancaster University.

The talk will be preceded by a special meeting of CCLC's Queer and Now reading group on Tuesday 29th January (6-7pm), Arts 105. All welcome - please email for readings.