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Complaint as Diversity Work, Public Lecture, History Department, Columbia University, NY

  • 411 Fayerweather Hall Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY United States (map)

What can be learnt about the workings of power from those who challenge power? This lecture draws on interviews conducted with staff and students who have made complaints within universities that relate to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions and to abuses of power such as harassment and bullying. The lecture approaches complaint as a form of diversity work: the work some have to do in order to be accommodatedMaking 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. The lecture 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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