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Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies

Anne Enke

Publication Year: 2012

If feminist studies and transgender studies are so intimately connected, why are they not more deeply integrated? Offering multidisciplinary models for this assimilation, the vibrant essays in Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies suggest timely and necessary changes for institutions of higher learning.

Responding to the more visible presence of transgender persons as well as gender theories, the contributing essayists focus on how gender is practiced in academia, health care, social services, and even national border patrols. Working from the premise that transgender is both material and cultural, the contributors address such aspects of the university as administration, sports, curriculum, pedagogy, and the appropriate location for transgender studies.

Combining feminist theory, transgender studies, and activism centered on social diversity and justice, these essays examine how institutions as lived contexts shape everyday life.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

One of the greatest things about collaborative projects is that at the outset and for a good bit of the way through, no individual—even the editor of a collection of solicited articles—can quite envision the process or predict the outcome. ...

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Introduction: Transfeminist Perspectives

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pp. 1-15

This book is born of the conviction that feminist studies and transgender studies are intimately connected to one another in their endeavor to analyze epistemologies and practices that produce gender. Despite this connection, they are far from integrated. ...

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Note on Terms and Concepts

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pp. 16-20

The terms and concepts here supplement this volume. This is not a glossary of all terms relevant to transgender studies, trans histories, and trans lives. It would be impossible to be exhaustive here, as the list of terms related to cultural and community-based gender practices is literally infinite. ...

Part I: “This Much Knowledge”: Flexible Epistemologies

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1. Gender/Sovereignty

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pp. 23-33

In an earlier work, “Trapped in the Wrong Classroom: Making Decolonial Trans-Cultural Spaces in Women’s Studies,”1 I began to think about relationships between pedagogies of critical consciousness2 and transing3 as a praxis for decolonization.4 I took the master narrative about trans-people “being trapped in the wrong body”5 ...

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2. “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb?” : Diversity, Privilege, and Heteronormative Perceptions of Competence within the Academy

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pp. 34-44

Power and credibility are not evenly distributed in societies, and this includes the academy. I am a transsexual woman, an academic, and a scientist; the disconnect between many of my personal and professional experiences is jarring. On the one hand, I’m a scientist—people are very willing to trust me as an expert on many topics. ...

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3. Trans. Panic. Some Thoughts toward a Theory of Feminist Fundamentalism

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pp. 45-59

As I sat down over the first few months of writing this chapter, some of those months overlapped with one of the longest, most devastating academic strikes taking place at my university. One of York University’s largest unions representing casualized academic labor—graduate teaching assistants, contract faculty, and research assistants ...

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4. The Education of Little Cis: Cisgender and the Discipline of Opposing Bodies

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pp. 60-78

Things change when a neologism moves from a social movement context to a classroom context. On one hand, our ability to keep classrooms relevant depends on this movement, this perspectival and practical exchange between academic and activist worlds. ...

Part II: Categorical Insufficiencies and “Impossible People”

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5. College Transitions: Recommended Policies for TransStudents and Employees

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pp. 81-97

During the last two decades, U.S. media have run exposés on anti-LGBT harassment’s devastating consequences, including the murders of Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard and the spate of youths who were bullied to the point of killing themselves in 2010.1 After twenty years, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has supported calls to reduce bullying in schools. ...

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6. “Ain’t I a Woman?” Transgender and Intersex Student Athletes in Women’s Collegiate Sports

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pp. 98-111

The title of this chapter is borrowed from Sojourner Truth’s powerful demand that white feminist abolitionists in the nineteenth century expand their awareness to include the needs of black women in their fight for race and sex equality. Her question, “Ain’t I a Woman,” seems fitting for the twenty-first century ...

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7. Training Disservice: The Productive Potential and Structural Limitations of Health as a Terrain for Trans Activism

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pp. 112-132

This essay focuses on health-provider trainings and their relationship to activism around transgender health. Sometimes referred to as “Trans 101,” “Transgender Health,” or “Transgender Awareness” trainings, these provider trainings are often delivered to health-professional students or as continuing education to health-care providers.1 ...

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8. Transnational Transgender Rights and Immigration Law

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pp. 133-150

On a panel called Queer Necropolitics at the American Anthropological Association meeting in 2009, Sima Shakhsari related the story of Naz, a trans woman from Iran who was featured in a number of documentaries about transsexuality in Iran. In the global North, recent media attention to the situation of trans people in Iran ...

Part III: Valuing Subjects: Toward Unexpected Alliances

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9. Elusive Subjects: Notes on the Relationship between Critical Political Economy and Trans Studies

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pp. 153-169

As I elaborated a definition of neoliberalism to my Transgender Human Rights class, a student asked bluntly, “What does the economy have to do with trans rights?” Her classmates sat up with rapt attention, anxiously awaiting the answer. I responded by uttering a single word: “everything.” ...

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10. Reclaiming Femininity

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pp. 170-183

Over the last few years, my femme identity has very much informed the way that I relate to myself as a trans woman, as a queer woman, and as a feminist more generally. If you were to ask a hundred different femmes to define the word “femme,” you would probably get a hundred different answers. ...

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11. What’s Wrong with Trans Rights?

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pp. 184-194

As the concept of trans rights has gained more currency in the last two decades, a seeming consensus has emerged about which law reforms should be sought to better the lives of trans people.1 Advocates of trans equality have primarily pursued two law-reform interventions: ...

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12. When Something Is Not Right

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pp. 195-202

Anyone can be trans, or an activist, but to be on the Roadshow, you had better do a good Elvis. Jamez is an ex-Alaskan dog-musher/current Harvard Divinity student who plays the violin and recites poetry in a shaggy lion costume with floppy yarn mane. ... ...


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pp. 203-232


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pp. 233-248

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pp. 249-252

Aren Z. Aizura is the Mellon Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute for Research on Women and Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. His research focuses on how biopolitical technologies of race, gender, transnationality, medicalization, and political economy shape and are shaped by transgender and queer bodies. ...


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pp. 253-260

E-ISBN-13: 9781439907481
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439907474

Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2012