“What Transpires Now: Transgender History and the Future We Need” Lectures

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This lecture series, drawn from gender theorist and historian Susan Stryker’s work in progress of the same title, revisits three key figures from the transgender past to discuss their relevance for the present.

More info on each of the “What Transpires Now” lectures — each of which will take place at 4 p.m. in Gilman 400:

  1. Thomas/ine Hall: What Intersex Embodiment Can Teach Us About Racial Biopolitics” (Weds., Feb. 14): This lecture uses the story of Thomas or Thomasine Hall, an indentured servant in seventeenth century Virginia who seems to have been a person with ambiguous genitalia, to analyze the new forms of racial biopolitics that took shape in early settler colonial history, and ask, in a contemporary cultural moment when Rachel Dolezal can claim to be a transracial black person in the same way that Caitlyn Jenner can claim to be a transgender white woman, how to best think about the similarities and differences of race and gender.
  2. Frances Thompson: Disability, Sex-Work, and Sectional Conflict” (Weds., March 7): In the presidential election year of 2016, transgender issues revolving around public accommodations–particularly sex-segregated toilets–were a high-profile part of the political debate about which minority bodies could legitimately claim to belong to the body politic. The story of Frances Thompson–a black, trans, disabled, sex-worker in Memphis in the 1860s and 70s–helps demonstrate how this recent controversy restages today the same problems in political economy that culminated in civil war a century and a half earlier.and finally
  3. Christine Jorgensen: The Hypervisibility of Transsexual Whiteness” (Weds., March 14): In the mid-twentieth century, the spectacular international celebrity of Christine Jorgensen introduced the concept of transsexuality to the masses. In recent years, transgender studies scholars have rightfully critiqued how Jorgensen’s fame marked transness as a white phenomenon, and have done important work to recover transof color lives that existed in Jorgensen’s shadow. Largely unaddressed, however, is how whiteness enabled US-centered notions of transgender identity to circulate globally with First World privilege at height of the Cold War.

All comers are welcome at any and all of these lectures, and the lively Q&A (and light refreshments) that always follow!

Any questions or requests for disability accommodation, please get in touch.