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Sara Ahmed - Closing the Door: Complaint as Diversity Work


Accessibility Information: There is a small lip at the front entrance of the event space. Inside, there is a wheelchair lift. There are two gender neutral washrooms, and both have an accessible stall. ASL will be provided at the event.

Gender Neutral Washrooms: There are two gender neutral washrooms on the main floor of the event space.

Lecture by Sara Ahmed

Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer, independent scholar, and Killjoy who works at the intersection of feminist, queer and race studies. Her research is concerned with how bodies and worlds take shape; and how power is secured and challenged in everyday life worlds as well as institutional cultures. Until the end of 2016, Ahmed was a Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London having been previously based in Women’s Studies at Lancaster University. She resigned from my post at Goldsmiths in protest at the failure to deal with the problem of sexual harassment. Ahmed is the author of many notable books including Living a Feminist Life (2017), Willful Subjects (2014), and On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012). Her most recent writing can be found on her blog:

This lecture draws on interviews conducted with staff and students who have made complaints within universities that relate to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions and to abuses of power such as sexual and racial harassment. It approaches complaint as a form of diversity work: the work some have to do in order to be accommodated. Making a complaint requires becoming an institutional mechanic: you have to work out how to get a complaint through a system. It is because of the difficulty of getting through that complaints often end up being about the system. The lecture explores the significance of how complaints happen 'behind closed doors,' and shows how doors are often closed even when they appear to be opened.

Welcome by Dr. Albert McLeod (Two Spirit Manitoba)

Albert McLeod is a Status Indian with ancestry from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Metis community of Norway House in northern Manitoba. He has over thirty years of experience as a human rights activist and is one of the directors of the Two-Spirited People of Manitoba.
Albert began his Two-Spirit advocacy in Winnipeg in 1986 and became an HIV/AIDS activist in 1987. He was the director of the Manitoba Aboriginal AIDS Task Force from 1991 to 2001. In 2018, Albert received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Winnipeg.
Albert lives in Winnipeg, where he works as a consultant specializing in Indigenous peoples, cultural reclamation, and cross-cultural training.

Renu Shonek and Carla Taylor, 2SQTBIPOC Library

Renu and Carla are the co-creators of the 2SQTBIPOC (two-spirit, queer, trans and Black/Indigenous/people of colour) Library housed in the Revolution Wellness Centre (433 Graham Ave). The 2SQTBIPOC Library is made by and for 2SQTBIPOC communities, and will hold a collection of books by 2SQTBIPOC authors. Renu and Carla will speak about the motivation for the library, the importance of creating this space outside the walls of academia, and will be collecting monetary and book donation at the event. To donate via etransfer:

Instagram: @2sqtbipoc_library_204

Introductions by Dr. Corinne Mason (Gender and Women’s Studies, Brandon University) and Christina Hajjar (Whiny Femmes Zine and @notmystellas)

Dr. Corinne Mason is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Sociology at Brandon University. Her research program maps how social justice logics are incorporated into institutional and mediated contexts with an emphasis on gender-based and sexualized violence, 2SLGBTQIA rights, intersectionality theory, and reproductive justice. Her current work focuses broadly on the questions of im/mobilizing marginalized knowledges on university campuses. Probing neoliberal expectations for scholars to communicate their research outcomes, Mason is investigating if and how feminist researchers’ expertise on sexualized violence informs their institution’s policies and practices.


Christina Hajjar

Christina Hajjar is a queer femme first-generation Lebanese-Canadian artist, writer, and organizer. She is passionate about collaboration and skills-sharing as tools of community-building and resistance! Her arts practice utilizes performance, poetry, zines, curating, and facilitation to grapple with diaspora, queerness, food, feminism, and intergenerational inheritance. Among many community-based endeavors, she is co-creator of zines Whiny Femmes (with art and writing by queer femmes of all genders) and Carnation (with art and writing addressing displacement and diaspora). A resident killjoy in Winnipeg, Hajjar co-founded the @notmystellas Instagram campaign to hold the restaurant accountable for sexual harassment, unethical work practices, discrimination and human rights violations.


This event is presented by the Margaret Laurence Endowment Fund held jointly by the Institute of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg, Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Manitoba, and Gender and Women's Studies at Brandon University; the University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities; the Centre for Research in Cultural Studies at the University of Winnipeg; and QPOC Winnipeg

Earlier Event: October 1
Tune-In Music Lessons
Later Event: October 3
Tune-In Music Lessons