Brick Walls: Racism and Other Hard Histories
Brick Walls: Racism and Other Hard Histories, a lecture by Professor Sara Ahmed (Goldsmiths, University of London) for the Birkbeck, University of London Department of Psychosocial Studies Summer Programme 2016.
In my book On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012), I considered how diversity work is often described as “a banging your head against a brick wall job.” In this lecture I will reflect further on brick walls as the hardening of histories, or as how histories becomes concrete. But walls that are hard for some (because of who they are, or what they do) do not even appear for others. This lecture will invite reflection on how some borders that are tangible and material (that can stop bodies from entering or progressing) can be understood and lived by others as immaterial, as phantom walls. Thinking through and with walls, the material stuff of power, allows us to explore how diversity work (the work we do when we try to transform an institution and the work we do when we do not quite inhabit the norms of an institution) can be an experience of shattering and of assembling worlds from being shattered.
This event is free and open to all, but please register your attendance with Eventbrite so that we know you will be joining us.
Sara Ahmed is Professor of Race and Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. Publications include Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism (1998) Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000); The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004, 2014), Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (2006); The Promise of Happiness (2010); On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012) and Willful Subjects (2014). The lecture is drawn from her forthcoming book, Living a Feminist Life (Duke University Press, 2017).
The Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London convenes an annual Summer Programme of interdisciplinary events spanning the field of psychosocial studies. The Programme provides current and prospective students, staff and the general public with an opportunity to attend lectures, seminars and conferences with distinguished speakers from the UK and abroad, and to meet with lecturers and current students on our many academic and clinical programmes.