What′s the Use?

On the Uses of Use

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 52 illustrations Published: October 2019

Author: Sara Ahmed

Subjects
Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Queer Theory

In What’s the Use? Sara Ahmed continues the work she began in The Promise of Happiness and Willful Subjects by taking up a single word—in this case, use—and following it around. She shows how use became associated with life and strength in nineteenth-century biological and social thought and considers how utilitarianism offered a set of educational techniques for shaping individuals by directing them toward useful ends. Ahmed also explores how spaces become restricted to some uses and users, with specific reference to universities. She notes, however, the potential for queer use: how things can be used in ways that were not intended or by those for whom they were not intended. Ahmed posits queer use as a way of reanimating the project of diversity work as the ordinary and painstaking task of opening up institutions to those who have historically been excluded.

Praise

“In this close reading of use, Sara Ahmed leads the reader from object to object at a pace that moves with the deliberateness of a philosopher and the grace of a literary scholar. With this and other books, Ahmed has established herself as one of the most important feminist thinkers in the world.” — Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

“With characteristic verve and force, Sara Ahmed explores the uses of use. More than a history of an idea and much more than a philosophical investigation of use and value, Ahmed’s book teaches us how to locate use, usefulness, used-upness, used objects, and useful and useless knowledge in relation to time, space, queerness, and more. Read this book; you need it, and more importantly, you will use it. It is useful and useless in equal proportion and compelling precisely because of its mixed-use value. Before you know it, you will get used to use and you will carry it with you always.” — Jack Halberstam

“How lucky we are that feminist killjoy Sara Ahmed takes us on her learned, witty, and insightful journey. With her evocative exasperation at the state of affairs with regard to the (im)possibilities of diversity work and complaint, she dismantles the sexist and racist structures of the modern university. Now as a courageous, independent scholar, Ahmed continues to shine her characteristic phenomenological lights on walls and doors and more. She is still here; she refused to get used to it!” — Gloria Wekker

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Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Fall 2019 Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sara Ahmed is an independent scholar and author of Living a Feminist Life and several other books also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction. A Useful Archive  1
1. Using Things  21
2. The Biology of Use and Disuse  68
3. Use as Technique  103
4. Use and the University  141
Conclusion. Queer Use  197
Notes  231
References  257
Index  271
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0650-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0584-1
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