2013-14 Global Scholars
“Transgender, Queer and Cis: Feminist Resistance or Resistance against Feminism? Gender Equality and Trans issues in Iceland and the US"
This project will explore the queer and transgender issues in the light of the gender equality framework and the feminist movement in Iceland, comparing and contrasting Iceland with the US. The project is a part of a larger collaboration with Professor Jyl Josephson (Rutgers-Newark) on Icelandic and US relations, covering research and teaching. The research project addresses queer and transgender issues that will be explored theoretically and empirically, with the empirical part located in the Icelandic context. This will be related to concepts such as gender equality, sexuality, gender identity and the complex interrelationship between these concepts. Also feminism, queer feminism and transgender feminism will be explored. The main question of the project is to what extent there is a tension between the struggle of queer and transgender people and the feminist movement, and to what extent there is a ground for strategic alliances and cooperation. The Icelandic context is a good starting point for exploring these issues as Iceland has a very progressive legal framework, and a vital, although small, queer and transgender community.
Thorgerdur Einarsdottir is Professor of Gender Studies in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland.
Simone James Alexander
“Sex and the State: The Politics of Mannishness, Transgression and Sexual Decolonization"
This project explores how by embodying erotic autonomy, the female protagonist, Viveka Krishnu of Shani Mootoo’s Valmiki’s Daughter, challenges the state’s definition of citizenship “normativized within the prism of heterosexuality.” This challenge manifests in the disruption of the neat narrative of heteronormativity and masculinity. Furthermore, erotic autonomy as a politics of feminism engenders decriminalization or decolonization of alternative sexualities. Thus, the nation is reimaged as one in which alternative sexualities are part of the nationalist, masculinist discourse.
Simone James Alexander is Professor of English at Seton Hall University