Mary Wollstonecraft Annual Public Lecture. Complaint: Feminism, Diversity, Work and Institutions

Given by noted scholar and writer Sara Ahmed, this lecture explores how complaint can be understood as a form of diversity work; as what we have to do in order to make institutions more accommodating.

The lecture draws on written and oral testimonies provided by those who have made complaints within universities, including complaints about racism, sexism, sexual harassment and bullying. The lecture addresses the difficulty of making complaints and asks how and why complaints are often blocked, and also shows how we learn about power from those who challenge power.

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

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