Complaint as Diversity Work
Lecture by Sara Ahmed

Complaint as Diversity Work by Sara Ahmed

Photos and articles about the event
A. Kers

14 March 2019 | 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?  

  • Complaint as Diversity Work

    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.

    This lecture is given in English and the entrance is free. Registration is recommended via this link.

  • More about Sara Ahmed

    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)

    Read Sara's blog

  • Article (in Dutch) by Ingeborg van der Ven and Rosanne Schot

    Diversiteit voorbij het imago van de universiteit

    20 maart 2019 | Feministe, schrijver en onafhankelijk onderzoeker Sara Ahmed sprak vorige week aan de EUR over haar laatste onderzoek. Haar boodschap: “Mind the gap: Universiteiten moeten zich bewust worden van het verschil tussen wat de universiteit wil uitstralen met diversiteit en wat de daadwerkelijke klachten van diverse academici zijn.”

    De onafhankelijke onderzoeker duikt op dit moment in de resultaten van gesprekken met studenten, ondersteunend personeel, jonge wetenschappers en senioren aan universiteiten in Groot-Brittannië en Australië die een klacht hebben ingediend tegen hun eigen universiteit. “Een klacht of een melding is diversiteitswerk omdat je er zo achter kan komen hoe een organisatie werkelijk in elkaar steekt. De manier waarop een klacht of melding wordt behandeld leert je namelijk veel over de cultuur van een organisatie vooral als deze klacht over die cultuur gaat.

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