Sara Ahmed

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Sara Ahmed
Sara Ahmed

(1969-08-30) 30 August 1969 (age 49)
Salford, England
NationalityBritish and Australian
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide
Cardiff University
OccupationWriter, Professor, Independent Feminist Scholar

Sara Ahmed (30 August 1969)[1] is a British-Australian scholar whose area of study includes the intersection of feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory and postcolonialism.


Ahmed was born in Salford, England. She has a Pakistani father and English mother, and emigrated to Adelaide, Australia, with her family in the early 1970s.[2] Key themes in her work, such as migration, orientation, difference, strangerness, and mixed identities, relate directly to some of these early experiences. She completed her first degree at Adelaide University and doctoral research at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, Cardiff University.[3] She now lives in the outskirts of Cambridge with her partner, Sarah Franklin who is an academic at the University of Cambridge.[4]


Ahmed was based at the Institute for Women’s Studies at Lancaster University from 1994 to 2004, and is one of its former directors.[5] She was appointed to the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2004, and was the inaugural director of its Centre for Feminist Research, which was set up 'to consolidate Goldsmiths' feminist histories and to help shape feminist futures at Goldsmiths.' [6] In spring 2009 Ahmed was the Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women’s Studies at Rutgers University[7] and in Lent 2013 she was the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Professor in Gender Studies at Cambridge University, where she conducted research on "Willful Women: Feminism and a History of Will".[8] In 2015 she was the keynote speaker at the National Women's Studies Association annual conference.[9] In 2016 Ahmed resigned from her post at Goldsmiths in protest over the alleged sexual harassment of students by staff there.[10] She has indicated that she will continue her work as an independent scholar.[11] She blogs at feministkilljoys, a project she continues to update.[12] The blog is a companion to her book "Living a Feminist Life" (2017) that enables her to reach people; posts become chapters and the book becomes blogging material. The term "feminist killjoy" "became a communication device, a way of reaching people who recognized in her something of their own experience."[13].


Ahmed has been described as a prolific writer. One reviewer of her work commented, "Few academic writers working in the UK context today can match Sara Ahmed in her prolific output, and fewer still can maintain the consistently high level of her theoretical explorations.”[14] Ahmed has written eight single-authored books.


Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism[edit]

Published in 1998 by Cambridge University Press [15]

Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality[edit]

Published in 2000 by Routledge. [16]

The Cultural Politics of Emotion[edit]

Published in 2004, second edition 2014 by Edinburgh University Press and in New York by Routledge. [17]

Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others[edit]

Published in 2006 by Duke University Press.[18] Ahmed often focuses on the subject of orientation and being orientated in space, especially in relationship to sexual orientation. In her book Queer Phenomenology: Orientation, Objects, Others Ahmed states that orientation refers to the objects and others that we turn to face as well as the space that we inhabit, and how it is that we inhabit that space. Ahmed brings together queer phenomenology as a way of conveying that orientation is situated in the lived experience.[19]

The Promise of Happiness[edit]

Published in 2010 by Duke University Press. [20] This work was awarded the FWSA book prize in 2011 for "ingenuity and scholarship in the fields of feminism, gender or women’s studies".;[21]

On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life[edit]

Published in 2012 by Duke University Press. [22]

Willful Subjects[edit]

Published by Duke University Press in 2014. [23]

Living a Feminist Life[edit]

Published in 2017 by Duke University Press.[24] Ahmed's blog, "feministkilljoys", was written at the same time as "Living a Feminist Life" (2017).[25].

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Ahmed, Sara, 1969-". Library of Congress. Retrieved 16 January 2015. data sheet (Ahmed, Sara; b. 08-30-69)
  2. ^ Sian, Katy (2014). Conversations in Postcolonial Thought. Palgrave. pp. 17–18.
  3. ^ "Differences That Matter" (PDF). 1998.
  4. ^ "Bio". Sarah Ahmed.
  5. ^ "People - Centre for Gender and Womens' Studies, Lancaster University, UK". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  6. ^ "Centre for Feminist Research". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  7. ^ "Spring Newsletter 2009" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Cambridge Gender Studies".
  9. ^ Koch-Rein, Anson (9 November 2015). "NWSA Conference 2015". Anson Koch-Rein, PhD. Archived from the original on 14 October 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  10. ^ "London university professor quits over sexual harassment of female students by staff". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  11. ^ Ahmed, Sara. "Feministkilljoys".
  12. ^ Ahmed, Sara. "feministkilljoys". feministkilljoys. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Sara Ahmed: "Once We Find Each Other, So Much Else Becomes Possible" | Literary Hub". Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  14. ^ Shildrick, Margrit (2009). "Review, Queer Phenomenology". International Journal of Philosophical Studies. 17 (4).
  15. ^ Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [1]
  16. ^ "Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (Paperback) - Routledge". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  17. ^ Edinburgh University Press and New York: Routledge. [2]
  18. ^ "Duke University Press". Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. ^ 1969-, Ahmed, Sara, (2006). Queer phenomenology : orientations, objects, others. Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN 0822338610. OCLC 68192277.
  20. ^ Durham: Duke University Press.[3]
  21. ^ March 2012 FWSA Newsletter, p.7-8.
  22. ^ Durham: Duke University Press[4]
  23. ^ Durham: Duke University Press[5]
  24. ^ "Living a Feminist Life | Duke University Press". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  25. ^ Ahmed, Sara. "Out and About". Feminist Killjoys. Retrieved 16 March 2017.