Sara Ahmed

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We learn about worlds when they do not accommodate us.

Sara Ahmed (30 August 1969) is a British-Australian scholar whose area of study includes the intersection of feminist theory, lesbian feminism, queer theory, critical race theory and postcolonialism.


  • Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.

"An Affinity of Hammers" (2016)

Transgender Studies Quarterly, Volume 3, Numbers 1–2, May 2016
  • We learn about worlds when they do not accommodate us. Not being accommodated can be pedagogy. We generate ideas through the struggles we have to be in the world; we come to question worlds when we are in question. When a question becomes a place you reside in, everything can be thrown into question: explanations you might have handy that allow you to make sense or navigate your way through unfamiliar as well as familiar landscapes no longer work.
    • p. 22
  • The exposure of violence is perceived by the privileged as the origin of violence.
    • p. 28
  • To point out harassment is to be viewed as the harasser; to point out oppression is to be viewed as oppressive.
    • p. 28
  • Jokiness allows a constant trivializing: as if by joking someone is suspending judgment on what is being said. She didn’t mean anything by it; lighten up. A killjoy knows from experience: when people keep making light of something, something heavy is going on
    • p. 29
  • There are some who hold onto rigid ideas of biological sex, but I do not expect feminists to be among them. When I hear people refer in code to “biology 101,” meaning the scientific basis of female and male sex difference, to claim that trans women are not “biologically women,” I want to offer in rebuke, “Biology 101? Patriarchy wrote that textbook!” and pass them a copy of Andrea Dworkin’s Woman Hating, a radical feminist text that supports transsexuals having access to surgery and hormones and challenges what she calls “the traditional biology of sexual difference” based on “two discrete biological sexes.” To be so-called gender critical while leaving traditional biology intact tightens rather than loosens the hold of a gender system on our bodies.
    • p. 30
  • Transphobia and antitrans statements should not be treated as just another viewpoint that we should be free to express at the happy table of diversity. There cannot be a dialogue when some at the table are in effect (or intent on) arguing for the elimination of others at the table. When you have “dialogue or debate” with those who wish to eliminate you from the conversation (because they do not recognize what is necessary for your survival, or because they don’t even think your existence is possible), then “dialogue and debate” becomes a technique of elimination. A refusal to have some dialogues and some debates is thus a key tactic for survival.
    • p. 31
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