February 15, 2023

Intersections Hosts Renowned Feminist Scholar for Lecture

The Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research has invited feminist scholar Sara Ahmed to give a lecture on Feb. 22, 2023.
The Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research has invited feminist scholar Sara Ahmed to give a lecture on Feb. 22, 2023.

By Andrea DeHaan, CHaSS Communications Editor

The Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research (Intersections) at Utah State University will host renowned feminist scholar Sara Ahmed for a virtual event on Feb. 22, 2023.

Ahmed’s lecture will focus on her forthcoming publication, “The Feminist Killjoy Handbook,” a guide for incorporating feminism into the practice of everyday life while acknowledging that existing systems of oppression complicate this aim. Ahmed’s work is centered on the many theories and institutions that intersect with feminism, including racism, sexism, and queerphobia. She is the author of numerous books, including “Complaint!” and “Living a Feminist Life.”

“I’m really excited to bring Ahmed here because she has a pragmatic approach to diversity work,” said Intersections Director Avery Edenfield. “Ahmed’s ‘On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life’ profoundly shaped how I understand my position and responsibilities as Director for the Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research.”

The “Feminist Killjoy” framework can be applied to institutional problems; however, Ahmed’s lecture will also explore how “institutional killjoys” often confront issues only to see their work used as a stand-in for meaningful action.

“She has a way of capturing the experience — the affect — of struggling for improving one’s work situation, especially for marginalized or underrepresented folks,” Edenfield said.

The decision to invite Ahmed was prompted by observing faculty and staff reading her books. Because Ahmed’s work was already having an impact at USU and beginning to inform discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion, Intersections hoped that hearing from Ahmed would help to inform DEI strategies going forward.

In addition to Ahmed’s lecture, Intersections will host a book club once “The Feminist Killjoy Handbook” is released. Those interested in joining are encouraged to sign up for the Intersections newsletter.

“She is asking us to reconsider our approach to creating a more diverse space, not as hosts who welcome people who can make USU more ‘diverse,’ but linking diversity to equity, to a broader understanding of change that includes ALL people, including folks who are already here,” Edenfield said. “Diversity work at USU must be grounded in actions progressing material resources, towards ‘homing’ USU for people of color and other marginalized groups.”

Ahmed is based in the United Kingdom and will give her lecture over Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 22, beginning at 10 a.m. MST. This event is open to the public and will not be recorded. For more information and to register in advance: https://usu-edu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zIIsXtuvTsioQdGGQ7bttw


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