#3 'Disruptive and Wilful Subjects' - 31/10/17

For our third session, we will be reading the first chapter of Sara Ahmed's Willful Subjects (2014), entitled 'Willing Subjects.' A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here.

(Secondary reading: a blog post by Sara Ahmed on feministkilljoys, entitled 'Willful Stones,' accessible here).

In 'Willing Subjects,' Ahmed is interested in fundamentally redefining "will" as not that which is behind action but, rather, 'an object of thought' and a 'mode of experience' that may or may not predicate an action (25). She construes the relationship between the potentiality of "willing" and the effects of "willing" in Lacanian terms as a split between 'the subject of enunciation and the subject of the énoncé' whereby '[t]he will appears on both sides of the address, on the side of the subject and the object: who is willing, what is willed' (27; original emphasis). To the extent that the willing subject is split, …

#2 'Affective and Affected Bodies' - 17/10/17

For our second session (Tuesday 17th October), we will be reading the first chapter of Sara Ahmed's The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004), entitled 'The Contingency of Pain.' A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here.

[Seconding reading: Susan Sontag's 'Photojournalism - social aspects' from Regarding the Pain of Others (2003). A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here].

In 'The Contingency of Pain,' Ahmed explores how bodies register pain psycho-somatically as well as through discourse. She is especially interested in how we discourse pain (i.e. by attaching pain to particular objects or by narrating the arrival of pain) in order to form our bodies as 'perceiving surface[s]' (Ahmed, 26) and instantiate our being in-the-world.

In 'Photojournalism - social aspects' (2003), Sontag shares with Ahmed an interest in 'the sociality of pain' (Ahmed, 28); both are concerned with the act of witnessing. In striking semblance with the ti…

#1 'The Stranger' - 03/10/17

For our first session, we will be discussing the second chapter of Sara Ahmed's second monograph, Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000). A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here.

(Further reading: Audre Lorde's essay 'Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger*' from Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches which Sara Ahmed uses as an epigraph to 'Embodying Strangers.' A PDF is accessible via Google Drive here).

In 'Embodying Strangers,' Ahmed crystallises how 'the stranger' comes into being through a visual and tactile economy. The essay deals with construction of the stranger as, following Georg Simmel, both far and near (see Simmel, 1950, p.402), as well as the significance of touch and contact in the formation of relations of strangeness.

Event details: Tuesday 3rd October, 5pm-6:30pm, LHRI, Room 1.

All welcome!

Reading Sara Ahmed

Quilting Points returns for a sixth year with a new focus on Sara Ahmed. We’re delighted to announce the return of Quilting Points, an interdisciplinary, critical and cultural reading group and seminar series at the University of Leeds.

This year we'll be facilitating a year-long discussion on the work of Sara Ahmed, one of the most prolific and influential contemporary thinkers currently working in the UK. Examining her monographs, essays and blog entries we'll look at how Ahmed has shaped the fields of postcolonial studies, feminism, queer theory, ethic studies and critical race theory. As an independent scholar and writer who scrutinises the operations of power in every day life, as well as institutions like the university, Ahmed's critical and intellectual range only looks set to widen in the future. As a group, we're looking forward to discussing and reading Ahmed while her critical project is still ongoing and we welcome individuals from across the university to…

FINAL - 08/06/17 Screening: Zur Person + End of Year Party

To live together in the world means essentially that a world of things is between those who have it in common, as a table is located between those who sit around if, the world, like every in-between, relates and separates men at the same time.  Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

For our final session of the year, and our final session looking at Hannah Arendt, we will we be screening the 1964 interview between her and Günter Gaus, shown on Zur Person / The Person. Then, to celebrate our year with Arendt we will do one of her favourite things - sit around a table (and eat!).
DuringZur Person, Arendt discusses her relationship to philosophy, politics and her gender. Watching it gives us a rare chance to hear Arendt candidly answering questions about her political theory.
Following the screening, we will walk down to award-winning Kerala restaurant,Tharavadu, for an end of year meal. If you wish to come to the meal, please RSVP byMonday 5th June.
Where? LHRI Seminar room 1 When? Thursday 8th J…

#13 – 25/05/17: Thinking and Willing

To lose the appetite for meaning we call thinking and cease to ask unanswerable questions [would be to] lose not only the ability to produce those thought-things that we call works of art but also the capacity to ask all the answerable questions upon which every civilization is founded. Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind
For our penultimate session we will be discussing Arendt's final and lesser-known work, The Life of the Mind.

The Life of the Mind is a challenging text in which Arendt seeks to redefine three mental activities: thinking, willing and judging. Although she doesn't quite manage to explicate the relationship between mental activities and action, The Life of the Mind provides a foundation for later theorists who have (including Julia Kristeva). It also offers important insights into the relationship between the individual mind and reality, answering back to Kant and Hegel.
We will be focusing on a section of the book that achieves all of the above, 'Mental Ac…

#12 – 11/05/17 Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge presents "Inner Emigration/Civil Action: Testing and Changing Reality in Dark Times"

The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
Hannah Arendt, 'Civil Disobedience'
The refugee who can take only her experience with her when all else has been lost [...] is the model of a resisting and resistant subjectivity.
Lyndsey Stonebridge, 'The Inner emigration: on the run with Hannah Arendt and Anna Freud'
We are delighted to announce that our next session will be led by a special guest, Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge, and will focus on Arendt's essays 'Civil Disobedience' and 'Humanity in Dark Times'.
Lyndsey is renowned for her work on human rights, Hannah Arendt and, more recently, law. She has published extensively on Arendt and the status of the refugee, and recently appeared on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time.
With Lyndsey, we will discuss the themes of civil disobedience and the law, migration and "inner e…