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WGS Visiting Distinguished Professor series: Grace Lavery, “Lectures on Demonology for Transsexuals”

February 7 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Poster for Grace Lavery's series of talks on Jan. 31, Feb. 7, and Feb. 14 in Gilman 208.
We are happy to announce that this year’s WGS Visiting Distinguished Professor is Professor Grace Lavery of UC Berkeley. Her most recent book Pleasure and Efficacy: Of Pen Names, Cover Versions, and Other Trans Techniques (Princeton, 2023) examines the experience and representation of modern gender transition, drawing on examples from George Eliot, Sigmund Freud, and many others.
She will give three talks at Hopkins this semester, collectively entitled “Lectures on Demonology for Transsexuals.” Each talk will take place Wednesdays at 4:15PM in Gilman 208. A poster is attached.
  • January 31: “Twin Flames Universe, Blanchard, and Descartes”
  • February 7: “Accretion/Stain, or, What Is Inside the Bedsheet Ghost?”
  • POSTPONED (new date TBD): “The Pedophile’s Complaint: Hoax News in the Neoliberal Decade”


Dr. Grace Lavery is a pivotal scholar in contemporary trans studies, whose recent work (in her academic volume Pleasure and Efficacy and in her memoir Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis) is dedicated to the idea that transition works, and that trans people have a long history of engaging with strategies and techniques for effecting alternate ways of inhabiting the world. Her new book, Closures: Heterosexuality and the American Sitcom, will be out imminently from Duke UP. As our colleague Jules Gill-Peterson writes, of Pleasure and Efficacy,
There is a big secret about sex: it’s rather easy to change. Worse, you might even like doing it. Grace Lavery’s incisive critique of queer studies’ romantic fantasy about the impossibility of transition announces not just an end to tired and defensive theories, but takes seriously the fascinating stakes of technique as wielded by those whose mundane reality has been fictionalized to ennoble their oppression. Arriving at a life not merely possible, but enjoyable, is but one of the many rewards of the trans pragmatism Pleasure and Efficacy lovingly embraces.


February 7
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Gilman 208
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MARYLAND 21218
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