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Joan S. Korenman Lecture, Complaint as Diversity Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore Country

  • Fine Arts, Recital Hall University of Maryland, Baltimore Baltimore USA (map)

What can we learn about the workings of power from those who challenge power? This talk 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. Based on interviews with staff and students who have made complaints related to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions and to abuses of power such as harassment and bullying, the talk explores how the experiences that lead to complaint and the experiences of complaint are hard to untangle. it reflects on the role of academic networks and professional intimacies in shaping what happens to complaints and to those who complain.

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