#3: Symbolic Violence and Language 15/11/18

Thursday 15 November | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI | All welcome For our third session of the year, we will be focusing on Butler’s analyses of hate speech, censorship, and ‘obscenity’ in the introduction to Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (1997).
Excitable Speech continues Butler’s investigation of subject categories in the context of language and rhetoric. She returns to speech act theories, this time developing questions related to hate speech, injurious name-calling (such as racial slurs or epithets), pornography, rap lyrics, and gay self-expression in the US military – all these topics receive an introductory gloss in this week’s material. Central to her thesis is the rhetorical elision between physical and linguistic injury. Can words wound? How are bodies implicated in, or interpellated by, verbal pain or injury, such as name-calling or legal legislation? Her introduction, and the study as a whole, demonstrates an anxiety about the limits of resignification. Butler questi…

#2: 'Queerness' 25/10/2018

#2: 'Queerness' 25/10/2018 Thursday 25 October | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI: Room 1 | All Welcome For our second session of the year, we will be reading the eighth chapter of Butler’s Bodies That Matter (1993), entitled ‘Critically Queer’. We will be reading Butler’s discussion of queer identity, queerness and drag alongside a short section from Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015).
In ‘Critically Queer’, the concluding chapter of Bodies that Matter, Butler evaluates the refunctioning of the term ‘queer’ from its pejorative origins. She urges for the ongoing critique of a totalising queer identity category as ‘crucial to the continuing democratization of queer politics’ (227). If, as Butler argues, a performative discourse succeeds only through its iterability and ongoing citation, then the reification of a queer subject must be interrogated for its own exclusionary practices. The reading for this week allows an investigation of Butler’s claims and a reflection on how critical queerne…

#1: 'Gender and Identity' - 04/10/2018

#1: 'Gender and Identity' 04/10/2018 Thursday 4 October | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI: Room 1 | All Welcome  For our first session of the academic year we will be discussing Judith Butler's ideas around gender and identity as explored in her essay "Performance Acts and Gender Constitution" and in the "Conclusion" of Gender Trouble. (Pdfs downloadable on links above).

In 'Performance Acts and Gender Constitution’ Butler distills her early conception of gender performativity. She advances the idea that gender is a verb not a noun, created through repeated acts. She connects this process to the regulation of a binary gender system which is necessitated and produced by “compulsory heterosexuality.” In the ‘Conclusion’ of Gender Trouble she revisits these arguments in relation to subjectivity, identity politics and agency. 

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Thursday 4 October | 5 - 6.30pm | Leeds Humanities Research Institute, 29 - 31 Clarendon Place: Room 1 …

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

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 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

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

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…