Diversity Work in academia

Dr Sara Ahmed

In March 2019 the independent feminist scholar and writer, Sara Ahmed, gave a masterclass at the International Institute of Social Studies during which participants were given the opportunity to discuss the tactics and strategies used by 'diversity workers'.

During the Masterclass Ahmed discussed diversity work in its two senses: the work we do when we try to transform institutions, and the work we do when we do not quite inhabit the norms of an institution. She argued that these two senses often meet in our bodies, which translates to those who do not quite inhabit the norms of institutions being the ones then responsible for transforming these norms.  

In this Masterclass tactics and strategies were drawn upon to tackle the central question: how to we survive as well as transform universities as institutions of patriarchal whiteness? 

Take a look at some of the photos taken during the workshop.

Diversity Work - Workshop by Sara Ahmed - 13 March 2019

Diversity Work - Workshop by Sara Ahmed - 13 March 2019

About the speaker

Sara Ahmed is an independent feminist scholar and writer. 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, which is forthcoming with Duke University Press in 2019 and is currently working on an empirical project on complaint. 

Her previous books include Living a Feminist Life (2017), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012), The Promise of Happiness (2010), Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects and Others (2006), The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2014, 2004), Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000) and Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism (1998).

More information

Debating Discrimination in Dutch Academia: Experiences and Contestations Beyond Diversity is a seminar series, which aims to start a serious and constructive discussion on discrimination and racism in Dutch academia. This series seeks to address, among other issues, the role of academic institutions in reproducing colonial stereotypes and racism in society, the varied forms of overt and covert discrimination and racism within academic institutions, and alternatives and contestations within and outside academic institutions. 

This seminar was hosted by the ISS PhD Community and the ISS Inclusion and Diversity Team 'Hosting World Together'.