Feminism and Fragility: Sara Ahmed public lecture at University of Sydney

By Lisa Slater

What do you hear when you hear the word ‘feminism’? Sara Ahmed poses this question in the Introduction to her forthcoming book, Living a Feminist Life. After hearing her speak at the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, Sydney University, I headed to her blog, http://feministkilljoys.com to read more. Especially to be asked the kinds of questions she does: ones that demand honesty, story sharing, reflection, and generally re-energise us and feminism. For someone who describes the dynamics, mechanisms for reproduction of racism, discrimination, misogyny, and the accompanying pain and erosion, she somehow manages to rally hope, drive and no small dash of wilfulness.

Her Syd Uni talk was called Feminism and Fragility. She started with, ‘the histories that bring us to feminism are often histories that leave us fragile’. If, over the last few years, you have heard her speak than you will know it is wide ranging, highly engaging – weaving and conjuring rather than a linear argument – and I would do Ahmed no justice to give you the abridged version. ‘To leave a support system can mean to become more fragile, less protected by the bumps of ordinary life’. Such talk could make, at least me, sad, deflated but instead she does the great work of solidarity. Ahmed provides the space, the words, to reflect, describe, to begin to articulate what is happening, how something is working, and its effects. These words build support systems, alliances and vitality.

I especially like this line (Ahmed might be quoting) so will sign off with it: ‘privilege is an energy saving device’.

Symposium: Cultured Queer/Queering Culture: Indigenous Perspectives on Queerness

The Feminist Research Network is delighted to support this upcoming symposium, held by FIRE: Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence. This symposium examines varied and complex Indigenous understandings of gender, sexuality and queerness from around the world. The symposium will feature the work of Dr Qwo-Li Driskill, Dr Alex Wilson,Andrew Farrell, Dr Sandy O’Sullivan, Dameyon Bonson, Madeleine Clark and Tawhanga Nopera.

For more information, head to our Upcoming Events page!

Conference: Feminist Perspectives on Medical Bodies

Members of the FRN are currently organising a conference around feminist perspectives on medical bodies. The ways in which bodies are being modulated in biomedicine continue to proliferate, for example through surgery, assisted reproduction, genetic therapies and transplantation. As evidenced by the growing literature on biopolitics of biomedicine, this has important implications for the ways in which certain lives are normalised/ pathologised, and regulated. For more information about this conference, head to our Upcoming Events section.