Black Feminist Killjoy Reading Group

From Sara Ahmed’s feministkilljoys blog

  • Are told you are angry no matter what you say

  • Witness people’s eyes rolling as soon as you open your mouth as if to say: ‘oh here she goes!’

  • Are  angry because that’s a sensible response to what is wrong

  • Are often accused of getting in the way of the happiness of others (or just getting in the way)

  • Have ruined the atmosphere by turning up or speaking up

  • Have a body that reminds people of histories they find disturbing

  • Are willing to make disturbance a political cause

  • Are willing to cause unhappiness to follow your desire

  • Will not laugh at jokes designed to cause offense

  • Will take offense when it is there to be taken

  • Will point out when men cite men about men as a learned social habit that is diminishing (ie. most or usual citational practice)

  • Will notice and name whiteness. Will keep noticing and naming whiteness.

  • Will use words like ‘sexism’ and ‘racism’ even if that means being heard as the cause of bad feeling (and are willing to cause bad feeling)

  • Will refuse to look away from what compromises happiness

  • Are willing to be silly and display other inappropriate positive affects

  • Are willing to listen and learn from the work of feminists over time and refuse the caricatures of feminism and feminists that enables a disengagement from feminism

  • Are prepared to be other peoples’ worst feminist nightmare

  • Are prepared to be called a kill joy

  • Are willing to kill joy?



If you are interested in exploring fictional and non-fictional cultural practices of women killjoys of colour from around the globe – in order to think through our own lives, this reading group is for you. We meet every second Friday in the Department of Fine Art at Wits University. Friends from outside our department and field are most welcome (for the Rhodes University BFK group please email us for details as well). For readings email Prof Sharlene Khan: