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'"If These Doors Could Talk": Institutions, Diversity, Complaint,' Public Lecture, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

  • Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, CCIS 1-430, University of Alberta 11335 Saskatchewan Drive NW Edmonton, Canada (map)

If the doors could talk, what would they tell us? This lecture draws interviews with staff and students who have made complaints within universities that relate to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions or to abuses of power such as sexual and racial harassment. In many accounts of making complaints, doors come up. Complaints are made confidential as soon as they are lodged; complaints happen “behind closed doors.” What can we learn from how doors come up? Doors can be how some are shut out, but also how some are shut in. Doors are not just physical things that swing on hinges (though they are that); they are also mechanisms that enable an opening and a closing.  In dialogue with critical race and critical disability scholarship, the lecture explores how the figure of the open door can be used to create the impression of accessibility, diversity and inclusion, showing how doors can be closed by appearing to be open.

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