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Book Review by Prof. Meryl Altman Published in Academe

January 28, 2013

"Sara Ahmed’s valuable new book is something of a departure from her previous work in phenomenology and cultural criticism, which has focused particularly on emotion and 'affect' as understood by feminist, postcolonial, and queer theory," writes Meryl Altman in a review of On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Altman, professor of English and women's studies at DePauw University, contributes the review to Academe, the magazine of the American Association of University Professors.

"On Being Included is a practical book about institutional practices based on qualitative empirical research -- a set of semistructured interviews as well as more 'fleeting encounters' with 'diversity practitioners' at a variety of institutions in the United Kingdom and Australia -- and on her own experience as a member of her university’s policy-writing 'race equality team' and with a cross-disciplinary, externally funded research project," opines Dr. Altman.

LGL2651"An important grounding for Ahmed’s book is its phenomenological account of how it feels to be a problem, of 'the politics of stranger making; how some and not others become strangers; how notions of fear and hatred stick to certain bodies; how some bodies become understood as the rightful inhabitants of certain spaces.' Some of what she has to tell us about the lived experience of being the only face of color or the only woman in a particular institutional space, asked to serve on every committee, presumed to represent the interests of one’s group and then blamed for doing so, will not come as news to anyone who has been paying attention; but just because a problem has been repeatedly named doesn’t mean it has been solved."

Access the review, which is published in the January-February issue of Academe, here.

Learn more about Professor Altman in this previous summary.

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