Professor in Race and Cultural Studies
+44 (0)20 7717 2964
+44 (0)20 7919 7616
My research is concerned with how bodies and worlds take shape; and how power is secured and challenged in everyday life worlds, as well as institutional cultures. I begin with the messiness of the experiential, the unfolding of bodies into worlds, and the drama of contingency, how we are touched by what comes near. My work explores how differences, otherness and strangeness become ‘properties’ of bodies and spaces over time. Differences that Matter (1998) analyses intersections between differences in the shaping of identities, challenging the reification of difference in some postmodern theory. Strange Encounters (2000) examines how others are racialised by being recognised as strangers, as ‘bodies out of place’. More specifically, the book explores 'stranger fetishism', how the figure of 'the stranger' acquires a life of its own by being cut off from histories of determination, however unfinished those histories may be. The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004) considers how emotions register the proximity of others. It describes emotions as ‘the flesh of time’ and explores how emotions are attributed to objects, such that objects become sticky, or full of affective value. Queer Phenomenology (2006), explores how orientations affect how bodies inhabit time and space, re-thinking the ‘orientation’ in ‘sexual orientation’ and the ‘orient’ in orientalism. I offer a philosophical and personal exploration of how bodies are orientated by ‘what’ they come into contact with (using the example of the philosopher and the table). The Promise of Happiness (2010) considers how we are directed toward certain objects by the promise of happiness, such that we 'happen' upon those things that are already attributed as happiness causes. In this book, I explore how the freedom to pursue 'whatever' makes us happy is directive: we are free to pursue this 'whatever' on condition that it causes happiness, which as a condition involves an implicit demand that we make certain choices. Drawing on feminist, queer and anti-racist 'unhappy archives,' as archives that are assembled out of the struggle against happiness, the book considers happiness by taking up those who enter its history as 'wretches', 'killjoys' and 'affect aliens.' It analyses how one history of happiness is the history of the removal of the hap from happiness, and calls not only for 'the freedom to be unhappy,' but for a politics that puts the 'hap' back into happiness. On Being Included (2012) examines the turn to diversity within institutional cultures, and explores race equality policies as 'non-performatives' that do not bring into effect that which they name. It discusses how those who describe the problem of racism are treated as if they are creating a problem, as threatening an institution's reputation for 'being diverse.' This book also reflects on a genre of argumentation we can call 'overing': how it is assumed that we are 'over' racism (and other relations of structural inequality) or that by getting over racism, racism will be over. It reflects on how diversity workers come up against 'a brick wall' in attempting to transform institutional cultures and calls for a politics that does not 'look over' what we cannot or do not 'get over.'
I am the co-convenor of the MA in Gender, Media and Culture and from October 2013 I will be the Director of our new Centre for Feminist Research.
I would be interesting in supervising students in the following broadly defined areas:
Editorships and Editorial Boards (journals)
Associate Editor, International Journal of Cultural Studies.
Editorial Board, New Formations.
International Advisory Board, In-Tensions
International Advisory Board, European Journal of Women’s Studies.
International Advisory Board, Borderlands
International Advisory Board, Culture, Theory and Critique.
International Advisory Board, GLQ
International Advisory Board, Emotion, Space and Society
International Advisory Board, Cultural Studies
International Advisory Board, Subjectivities
International Advisory Board, Nora (Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies)
International Advisory Board, darkmatter
International Advisory Board, World Picture
International Advisory Board, Sexualities
International Board, Australian Journal of Critical Race and Whiteness Studies
Editorships and Editorial Boards (book series)
Queer Interventions (Cardiff University Press)
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
Goldsmiths has charitable status