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Reading Judith Butler

Quilting Points returns for its seventh consecutive year with a new focus on Judith Butler.
We are very pleased to announce the return of Quilting Points, an interdisciplinary critical and cultural theory reading group based at the University of Leeds.


This year, we will be conducting a year-long discussion on the work of Judith Butler. Since the publication of her first two monographs, Subjects of Desire (1987) and Gender Trouble (1990), Butler’s theories on gender and identity, and power and language, are now widely recognised as cornerstones in the development of contemporary critical theory and philosophy. While Butler’s most notable impact has been in the fields of gender studies, feminist theory, queer theory, and ethics studies, there are few areas in the Humanities left untouched by her work. From her foundational notion of gender performativity to her recent and ongoing work on precarity, Butler’s intellectual range is both established and continually evolving. Over the course …

Quilting Points presents: Sara Ahmed, Complaint as Feminist Pedagogy - 11/05/18

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We are delighted to announce that Sara Ahmed will be joining us at the University of Leeds* for a public lecture on Friday 11th May 2018. She will be presenting a talk, entitled ‘Complaint as Feminist Pedagogy,’ based on her current research into complaints of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and bullying at universities. The talk will be followed by a short Q&A and a wine reception. The lecture will take place in Conference Auditorium 1, near the Edge.

Sara Ahmed is an independent scholar and the author of eight monographs, the most recent of which being Living a Feminist Life (2017). She also maintains a lively and popular blog, feminist killjoys.

Attendance is free but booking is essential as places are limited. You can reserve at ticket via Eventbrite here. If you reserve a ticket but find yourself unable to attend for any reason, please contact us at quiltingpoints@gmail.com so we may pass your ticket on to someone else.


We extend thanks to our sponsors White Rose Colleg…

#10 'The Archive of Affect Aliens' - 17/04/18

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For our tenth and penultimate session, we will consider Sara Ahmed's body of work in relation to the recurring trope of the archive. Ahmed's own oeuvre, as we've explored this year, forms its own kind of archive, housing a litany of affect aliens, including strangers, killjoys, wilful subjects and many more. In 'Happy Objects' (2010), Ahmed excavates the 'unhappy archives'; she opens Willful Subjects (2014) with 'A Willfullness Archive'; meanwhile The Promise of Happiness (2010)and Living a Feminist Life (2017) discuss the importance of feminist and killjoy archives.

As background reading on the role and significance of archives, we recommend reading Michel Foucault's ‘The Historical a priori and the Archive’ from The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language (1972), accessible here.

Below, we have collected passages from different essays by Sara Ahmed that best exemplify her position on archives. We recommend reading these short e…

#9 'The Diversity Worker' - 20/03/18

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For our ninth session, we will be exploring the figure of the diversity worker through a reading of ‘The Language of Diversity', the second chapter of On Being Included (2012). The chapter is accessible here.

Secondary reading: Kenan Malik – ‘What’s the problem with multiculturalism?,' accessible here.

In 'The Language of Diversity' Ahmed highlights how diversity has commercial value, not only marketing the university, but making the university itself into a marketplace. We'll be discussing how diversity as a routine description poses a problem for diversity workers, as it maintains, rather than transforms, existing organisational values. Linking the diversity practitioner to Ahmed's other 'affect aliens', including feminist killjoys and strangers, we ask how does diversity organise, or stick to, certain bodies? What is the value of diversity within our own institutions? What does it mean to pose problems by exposing them?

All welcome!
Details: Tuesday…

#8 'Postmodern feminists' - 06/03/18

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**In solidarity with striking members of the UCU at the University of Leeds, we will be running our eighth session off-campus at the Packhorse Pub from 4pm - 5:30pm. Staff, students and members of the public are very welcome.**
In this session, we will be discussing the first chapter of Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism (2004 [1998]), entitled 'Speaking Back.' A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here.
Secondary reading: bell hooks ‘Postmodern Blackness’ in Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (2015 [1990]). A PDF is accessible here.

In these essays, both Sara Ahmed and bell hooks think critically about the relationship between (intersectional) feminism and postmodernism. For example, Ahmed considers the paradoxical manner in which postmodernism covers a broad spectrum of epistemological disruption and is yet underpinned by processes of exclusion (see Ahmed, 2004, p.4). Via Helen Tiffin, she also draws attention to how postmodernism problemat…

#7 'Strangers' with Dr Jay Prosser

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For our seventh session, we will be joined by Dr Jay Prosser for a special session on 'Strangers.' The session is intended to develop and complicate our thinking on strangers in Ahmed's work.

Dr Prosser is Reader in Humanities at the University of Leeds. He recommends that attendees read the following chapters from Tabish Khair's The New Xenophobia (2016) and Toni Morrison's The Origin of Others (2017) alongside a blog post from Ahmed on 'Making Strangers'.

A PDF of the Toni Morrison text is available here, and A PDF of the Tabish Khair text is available here.

Sara Ahmed's blog post, 'Making Strangers' is accessible here.
Back in October, for our first session of the academic year, we explored the figure of 'the stranger' in Ahmed's work through a reading of her essay, 'Embodying Strangers,' and Audré Lorde's essay 'Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger*'. We considered how the stranger is produced by the su…

#6 'The Killjoy as World Maker - 06/02/18

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For our first session of the new semester, and our sixth session of the year, we will be reading sections from both the introduction and conclusion of Living a Feminist Life (2017)

Both readings expand upon Ahmed's conceptualisation of the feminist killjoy within The Promise of Happiness (2010), creating a radical articulation of contemporary feminism delivered in an accessible style. Concluding Living a Feminist Life with a 'killjoy manifesto', Ahmed challenges killjoys to expose the myths encouraged by neoliberalism and global capitalism, rejecting the principle of happiness as a political cause.  Join us for a timely discussion of how to 'make feminisms work in the places we live, the places we work', bringing 'theory back to life' and much more.

All welcome!

Details: Tuesday 6th February, 5-6:30pm, LHRI, Room 1.