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October 14, 2005

Women, Race and Culture Lecture Series Begins With Diversity

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Feminist scholar Sara Ahmed will talk about “The Non-Performativity of Anti-Racism” at 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, in Seelye Hall 106. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ahmed’s lecture is the first within this year’s Women, Race and Culture Lecture Series about connections between decolonization and liberation movements and the formation of transnational feminist movements.

A professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London, Ahmed is interested in how differences, otherness and strangeness become “properties.” She and a colleague are currently leading a research project that explores diversity practices within adult and community learning and higher education, beginning with the question “what does diversity do?”

Within the project, Ahmed is exploring how “diversity” has increasingly replaced the terms “equal opportunities” and “affirmative action” in defining the social mission of universities. In addition to studying how language is applied, Ahmed is studying the effects of diversity training and programs on minority students.

Ahmed is writing a book about the research, tentatively titled “Doing Diversity: Racism and Educated Subjects.” Other publications by Ahmed include “Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism,” “The Cultural Politics of Emotion” and the forthcoming “Orientations: Towards a Queer Phenomenology.”

Other speakers in the Women, Race and Culture series:

  • At 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16, and 17, Juliana Pegues, poet, playwright and performer, will lead talks. She will give a creative performance titled “Defying Empire: Women of Color Feminisms in a Time of War,” Nov. 16 in the Carroll Room of the Campus Center and lecture about “Voices of Resistance: A Workshop on Spoken Word and Social Change” Nov. 17 in the Davis Ballroom. Pegues has published journals and anthologies including “Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire.”
  • At 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the Neilson Library Browsing Room, Sonia Alvarez will speak about “Latin American Feminism in Movement: Global Contentions and Translocal Connections.” Alvarez is the Leonard J. Horowitz Professor of Latin American Politics and Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an internationally recognized scholar of transnational feminist movements.

Each year, Smith’s Women’s Studies Program selects a theme for its Women, Race and Culture Lecture Series that can be integrated into class discussions and readings. The series is intended to ignite conversations that will spread beyond the classroom about vital issues. For more information visit

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Marti Hobbes
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