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A Willfulness Archive

Thursday 24 May 2012, 5.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Sara Ahmed, Goldsmiths, University of London

Guest lecture co-hosted by the Postcolonial Perspectives Reading Group and the CModS Postgraduate Forum

Willfulness has been defined as asserting or disposed to assert one's own will against persuasion, instruction, or command; governed by will without regard to reason; determined to take one's own way; obstinately self-willed or perverse.

This lecture assembles a willfulness archive by following the figure of the willful subject around: tracking where willfulness goes, and 'in what' or 'in whom' it is found.   The figure of the willful subject (often a child, often gendered as female) appears in literature, fables, educational treatises and moral philosophy, becoming recognizable as a figure, one that is 'under arrest.'

The lecture considers how willfulness has been thought of as a relation of  part to whole: the willful part is the one who does not will the preservation or the happiness of the whole. Willfulness is also associated with wandering: with wandering away from the right path. The lecture explores how a willfulness archive is an archive of rebellion.

Sara Ahmed is Professor in Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.  For more information, see her web page

Location: Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: All welcome