Courageous Conversations

Complaint, Diversity and Other Hostile Environments

A webinar from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Title: Complaint, Diversity, and Other Hostile Environments
Speaker: Dr. Ahmed, PhD

Webinar description:

In this lecture, Dr. Ahmed will bring together stories about making complaints by academics and students of colour to show how universities remain hostile environments despite or even through official policies on diversity and inclusion. She explains why doors keep coming up in stories of complaint with specific reference to the “diversity door.” People of colour are assumed to enter that door, which is often shut by appearing to be open. The lecture explores how those who complain become strangers or suspects, “persons to be interrogated.” Complaints about hostile environments are made in hostile environments.

Speaker biography:

Sara Ahmed is a feminist of colour scholar and writer. Her work addresses how power is experienced and challenged in everyday life and institutional cultures. The lecture is drawn from her book Complaint! which will be published by Duke University Press in September 2021. Previous publications include What’s the Use: On the Uses of Use (2019), Living a Feminist Life (2017), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012), The Promise of Happiness (2010) and Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (2016). Read her full bio.

Additional resources


Sara Ahmed. Complaint! (Duke University, forthcoming September 2021) 

Sara Ahmed. “Apologies for Harm, Apologies as Harm,” Feminist Killjoys Blog (January 27, 2021), 

Sara Ahmed. “Complaint as Testimony.” Feminist Killjoys Blog (December 7, 2020), 

Sara Ahmed. “Why Complain?” Feminist Killjoys Blog (July 22, 2019), 



Sara Ahmed. What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use (Duke University Press, 2019), 

Sara Ahmed. Living a Feminist Life (Duke University Press, 2017), 

Sara Ahmed. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life 

(Duke University Press, 2012), 

Diversity Work(ers)

Sara Ahmed. “Women of Colour as Diversity Workers,” Feminist Killjoys Blog (November 26, 2015), 

Sara Ahmed. “Embodying diversity in problems and paradoxes for Black feminists,” Race, Ethnicity and Education, 12, 1 (2009), 

Sara Ahmed & Elaine San. “Doing Diversity,” Policy Futures in Education, 4, 2 (2006), 96-100,