Trans Studies: Beyond Hetero/Homo Normativities
Currently at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary scholarship, Trans Studies have undermined pre-existing, oppositional sex/gender binaries by focusing on the fluidity and malleability of gender identity and expression. Trans Studies therefore destabilize and complicate many of the debates about the social, biological and cultural constructions of gender and sexuality. There has also been a heated debate among scholars and activists—especially in the United States and Latin America—on the distinctions between transgender, transsexual and transvestite, and the ways in which each one of these terms interrogates scientific, artistic, popular, cultural and ethnic definitions of gender and sexuality based on the idea of a set spectrum, or conceived as a result of a particular performance or practice. Scholars and activists who work on trans issues are currently analyzing the social, psychological, and legal impact of surgical gender reassignment, as well as promoting the protection of legal rights for trans people in public spaces.
This seminar explored the new frontiers that open when the relationships between gender, sexuality and the body are not conceived within heteronormative or homonormative frameworks, but from the perspective of psychoanalysis and desire, philosophy and subject theory, law and civil rights, and cultural and social studies. The seminar encouraged a broad conversation about the most recent redefinitions in Women’s, Queer and Sexuality Studies in dialogue with debates on trans issues. It incorporated projects explicitly addressing Trans Studies and also projects exploring gender complexity or nonconformity, destabilizing heteronormativity or homonormativity.
Seminar participants included fellows from the Graduate School of Education, as well as from such departments as History, Political Science, Media Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. We were also be joined by our two WGS/IRW Mellon Fellows and by an IRW Global Scholar from Mexico.