A bold exploration of the relationship between emotions and politics, through case studies on international terrorism, asylum, migration, reconciliation and reparation. Develops a theory of how emotions work and their effects on our daily lives.
Differences That Matter challenges existing ways of theorising the relationship between feminism and postmodernism which ask 'is or should feminism be modern or postmodern?' Sara Ahmed suggests that postmodernism has been allowed to dictate feminist debates and calls instead for feminist theorists to speak (back) to postmodernism, rather than simply speak on (their relationship to) it. Such a 'speaking back' involves a refusal to position postmodernism as a generalisable condition of the world and requires closer readings of what postmodernism is actually 'doing' in a variety of disciplinary contexts. Sara Ahmed hence examines constructions of postmodernism in relation to rights, ethics, subjectivity, authorship, meta-fiction and film.
Ahmed argues that a commitment to diversity is frequently substituted for a commitment to actual change. She traces the work that diversity does, examining how the term is used and the way it serves to make questions about racism seem impertinent. Her study is based in universities and her research is primarily in the UK and Australia, but the argument is equally valid in North America and beyond.
The Promise of Happiness is a provocative cultural critique of the imperative to be happy. It asks what follows when we make our desires and even our own happiness conditional on the happiness of others: “I just want you to be happy”; “I’m happy if you’re happy.” Combining philosophy and feminist cultural studies, Sara Ahmed reveals the affective and moral work performed by the “happiness duty,” the expectation that we will be made happy by taking part in that which is deemed good, and that by being happy ourselves, we will make others happy. Ahmed maintains that happiness is a promise that directs us toward certain life choices and away from others. Happiness is promised to ...
Examining the relationship between strangers, embodiment and community, Strange Encounters challenges the assumptions that the stranger is simply anybody we do not recognize and instead proposes that he or she is socially constructued as somebody we already know. Using feminist and postcolonial theory this book examines the impact of multiculturalism and globalization on embodiment and community whilst considering the ethical and political implication of its critique for post-colonial feminism. A diverse range of texts are analyzed which produce the figure of 'the stranger', showing that it has alternatively been expelled as the origin of danger - such as in neighbourhood watch, or celebrated as the origin of difference - as in multiculturalism. The author argues that both of these standpoints are problematic as they involve 'stranger fetishism'; they assume that the stranger 'has a life of its own'.
In Living a Feminist Life Sara Ahmed shows how feminist theory is generated from everyday life and the ordinary experiences of being a feminist at home and at work. Building on legacies of feminist of color scholarship in particular, Ahmed offers a poetic and personal meditation on how feminists become estranged from worlds they critique—often by naming and calling attention to problems—and how feminists learn about worlds from their efforts to transform them. Ahmed also provides her most sustained commentary on the figure of the feminist killjoy introduced in her earlier work while showing how feminists create inventive solutions—such as forming support systems—to survive the shattering experiences of facing the walls of racism and sexism. The killjoy survival kit and killjoy manifesto, with which the book concludes, supply practical tools for how to live a feminist life, thereby strengthening the ties between the inventive creation of feminist theory and living a life that sustains it.
In Willful Subjects Sara Ahmed explores willfulness as a charge often made by some against others. One history of will is a history of attempts to eliminate willfulness from the will. Delving into philosophical and literary texts, Ahmed examines the relation between will and willfulness, ill will and good will, and the particular will and general will. Her reflections shed light on how will is embedded in a political and cultural landscape, how it is embodied, and how will and willfulness are socially mediated. Attentive to the wayward, the wandering, and the deviant, Ahmed considers how willfulness is taken up by those who have received its charge. Grounded in feminist, queer, and antiracist politics, her sui generis analysis of the willful subject, the figure who wills wrongly or wills too much, suggests that willfulness might be required to recover from the attempt at its elimination.