Showing posts from 2018

#4: Ethics 6/12/18

Thursday 6 December | 5 - 6.30pm | LHRI | All welcome  For our fourth session of the year, we will be reading the second chapter of  Precarious Life  (2004), 'Violence, Mourning, Politics' alongside 'Precarity Talk' - a roundtable discussion of the topic between Butler and several other leading theorists.  In 'Violence, Mourning, Politics , ' Butler develops a theory of nonviolent ethics stemming from the acceptance that it is our vulnerability, and vulnerability to death and violence in particular, which connects us as humans. Adopting a relational view of the self, she reconfigures grief as a public, social experience which could and should be harnessed as a force for transformation, particularly in rethinking notions of community and international relations. State violence, she argues, is a consequence of the fact that modern nation states are founded on the principle of denying such vulnerability. Citing the US's military violence in the Middl

#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. But

#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 ho

#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  F or our first session of the academic year we will be discussing Judith Butler's ideas around gender and identity as explor ed in her essay " Performance Acts and Gender Constitution " and in the " Conclusion " of G ender 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 Cla

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. Ove

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 Whit

#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 recommen

#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? A

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

**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 postm

#7 'Strangers' with Dr Jay Prosser

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 i

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

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.