Sara Ahmed to Visit Campus Nov. 4-5

The English Department is pleased to announce that our second annual Distinguished Lecture in Literary and Cultural Studies will be delivered by Prof. Sara Ahmed, Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.

Ahmed is the author of scores of articles and essays and several books, including Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Duke University Press, 2006) and, most recently, The Promise of Happiness (Duke University Press, 2010). Her work has influenced academics across disciplines, including philosophy, women’s studies, literary studies, cultural studies, queer theory and LGBT studies, critical race theory, and postcolonial studies. Within the English department, her work has been taught in classes on medieval cultural studies, early modern literary and cultural studies, queer theory, and identity politics.

Prof. Ahmed will be involved in three events over the course of two days.

On Thursday, November 4, from 3:30-5 pm, she will hold a special seminar for graduate students in Rome 771. Graduate students from all departments are invited to take part. There is no set agenda; rather, this is an opportunity for students to engage Prof. Ahmed, and for Prof. Ahmed to talk about her work as a scholar and teacher.

On Friday, November 5, from 10-11:30 am, Prof. Ahmed will be holding a seminar especially designed for undergraduates. This event is similarly open to students from across the University, not just English. The event takes places in Rome 771.

Finally, Friday at 4 pm, in 1957 E Street, Room B12, Prof. Ahmed will be delivering the GW English Distinguished Lecture in Literary and Cultural Studies. Her talk is titled “A Willfullness Archive.” Here is a brief description:

A willfulness archive is what we assemble when we “follow willfulness
around,” tracking where willfulness goes, and “in what” or “in whom” it is
found. We can learn from these archives how willfulness is deposited in
certain places, which allows the willful subject to appear as a figure,
one who has certain qualities and attributes. Willfulness has been defined
as “asserting or disposed to assert one’s own will against persuasion,
instruction, or command; governed by will without regard to reason;
determined to take one’s own way; obstinately self-willed or perverse.”
Willfulness offers a moral diagnosis of character. Willfulness has also
been thought of as a relation of part to whole: the willful part is the
one who does not will the preservation of the whole. The paper suggests
that a willfulness archive is an archive of rebellion, one created by
parts who wander waywardly.

We encourage everyone in the University community to come out to join us for Prof. Ahmed’s lecture and the student-centered events. Spread the word!

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