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8.28.2014 All I want to know


“All I want to know
for my own protection
is are we capable
of whatever

Essex Hemphill “For My Own Protection”

8.27.2014 CFP: new feminisms / new materialisms / new media

The 2015 Neil Postman Graduate Conference | New York University

CFP Deadline: Monday November 3, 2014 
Conference Date: Thursday March 12, 2015 
Keynote: Karen Barad, Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness, University of California at Santa Cruz

After excursions into clouds, networks, and virtual worlds, the study of culture and media has taken a materialist turn. Media archaeologists, Marxists, ecologists, and designers rightly insist on a return to things, infrastructures, and the environment. But this once-firm ground now teems with vital forces, nonhuman agencies, and quantum particles.

This renewed interest in materiality should not be seen as a return or revival; rather, the project of new materialisms shows how what Jane Bennett calls “vibrant matter” is applicable to salient political and ethical concerns in the 21st century. Feminist and queer theorists, long interested in questions of the body and matter, are developing accounts of materiality and relationality that challenge received hierarchies of language and representation, subject and object. Feminist scholar Karen Barad, for example, emphasizes the irreducible relationality of phenomena: “relata do not preexist relations.” [1] Both new materialisms and media studies examine objects not as independent entities, but as centers of interaction and mediation. Alexander Galloway, for instance, asks “that we think of media not so much as objects but as principles of mediation.” [2]

We convene this conference in order to foreground feminism and situate new materialisms in relation to ongoing questions in media studies. How might we develop relational understandings of technology and infrastructures? How do new materialisms change our notions of the body, labor, and sociality? What critical and political approaches to agency, personhood, and mediation might emerge? Our deliberate use of the adjective “new” in the title should be seen as a provocation to uncover continuities with “old” materialisms, develop feminist and materialist media histories, and to historicize current debates.

We invite papers from across a range of disciplines that address new materialisms in their many forms and functions. Possible topics areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Feminist and queer media archeology
  • Feminist histories of science and technology 
  • Nature, culture, and the environment 
  • “Immaterial,” relational, and affective labor 
  • Critical race theory and intersectional approaches 
  • Theories of embodiment, wearable, or ubiquitous media
  • Marxist materialisms 
  • Media, architecture, and infrastructures
  • Assemblage theories from Deleuze to Latour 
  • Agency and personhood
  • Feminist and queer phenomenologies
  • Feminist design
  • Queer computing and feminist approaches to social media 

The New York University Department of Media, Culture, and Communication invites graduate students, academics, activists, workers, and artists to submit conference paper proposals. The conference will be held on March 12, 2015 at NYU.

Paper proposal submissions (no more than 300 words) should be sent by Monday November 3, 2014 to (with “Call for Papers” in the subject).

KEYNOTE: Karen Barad is Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Barad’s Ph.D. is in theoretical particle physics and quantum field theory. Barad held a tenured appointment in a physics department before moving into more interdisciplinary spaces. Barad is the author of Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University Press, 2007) and numerous articles in the fields of physics, philosophy, science studies, poststructuralist theory, and feminist theory. Barad is the Co-Director of the Science & Justice Graduate Training Program at UCSC.

[1] Karen Barad, “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28, no. 3 (2003), 815.

[2] Alexander Galloway, The Interface Effect (Malden, MA: Polity, 2012), 120.


the third white male to ask this in a month. hi sir - you are wise to worry. xo

8.27.2014 lately

i’ve been settling in a bit more here going into my second year. admittedly still struggling with understanding what i do as work or knowing when work stops; it’s either that i work too much or me “working” is a joke. nothing is outside of my job/s and if it is it seems like it threatens to make it all come crashing down. i try to keep spaces cordoned off where i can be aesthetically what i want—vile and pop and unacademic—but are the versions i end up with even what i want? i crave a combination of raw, respectful, and refined in lovers and friends but i don’t know how to find that. my suspicion lately is that my problem is an inability to feel already-existing connections. 

there is so, so much disparity between the world sustained by people treading water at the surface level and the world in touch with mess and despair. 

amorousness is involuntarily poly—i witness friend 1’s esteem of friend 2 and my own affection for them grows deeper. i need this triangulation, these geometrics. it takes so long to build your own fitting in. after a whole year i can only just now feel tucson people begin to refer to me in known ways: liz is good at this, would love that. i guess it’s probably that they finally know they can trust me.

tahereh told me i underemphasize the difficulty of my life and what i’ve been through. i watched my stepfather die in front of me in the middle of writing my graduate applications. by the time i had moved to tucson on his life insurance funds, my mother’s own precidament of living had panned out into a crisis of potential home foreclosure, in addition to some special, next-level confirmation of her unavailability to me on an adult register. i have never had role models, and because my family is so obsolete, i guess my tendency to be so torn apart by refusals of intimacy is indebted to my trying to make family out of the world. my grandma, who i was extremely close to, also just passed away this month, and instead of understanding that these things have real impacts i’m always berating myself for shortcomings.

people tell me i am too difficult to reach or read, while i’ve always known i’m offputting because too raw. eva telling me even my “laughter cuts through.” but what feels like too much is not enough to others and i come across as unavailable. a colleague/friend recently told me their extreme sensitivity manifests as social overperformance and that their guarded approach to me was “actually quite the opposite” of disinterest. “i will be more brave with that with you, if you will have me.” 

of course i will. i hope people can have patience with me as i try to train myself out of feeling unlovable.


the syllabus for susan’s first-ever transgender theory course at arizona. she does something i’ve yet to see anyone else do on a syllabus, which is to explain why she’s assigned what she has each week, effectively guiding the class through her own narrative of the field’s emergence. i’ve been waiting for a zealous prof with a fabulist bent. full syllabus shared with permission after the jump.


GWS 500 (Special Topics) Fall 2014: Transgender Theory

Meeting Time: Monday 3:30-6:00
Meeting Location: GWS 114 [Note: location is different than officially listed]

Professor: Susan Stryker
Office Hours: 1-3 Monday, or by appointment in GWS 114B



This class is intended to ground students in the central issues in transgender studies, to familiarize them with the most recent scholarship in the field, and to introduce innovative methodologies drawn from other relevant fields.

Assigned Texts

Many of these are available as PDFs, either on the D2L site for this class, or at the links provided below; some you will have to purchase or borrow from the library. Please see weekly reading assignments below for bibliographic citations for assigned articles and chapters. We will be reading the following books or entire journal issues:

*Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (PDF).

*TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.3, Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary

(not yet published; check soon; or PDF).

* Andrew Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Duke, 2014). Purchase or borrow.

*Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the    Pharmacopornographic Era (Feminist Press, 2013). (PDF).

*Afsaneh Najmabadi, Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke, 2013). Purchase of borrow.

Clare Sears, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in San Francisco (Duke, 2015; not yet published). (Purchase or borrow; or PDF)

Plus one or the other of these two books (see week 12 below):

*Marcia Ochoa, Queen For a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela (Duke, 2014). Purchase of borrow.

*Marlon Bailey, Butch Queen Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (Michigan, 2013). Purchase or borrow.

Optional Texts

These are not required, though we will be reading excerpts from them, and you might find them useful to have on hand:

*Chela Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed. (PDF)

*TSQ 1.1-2, Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a Twenty-First Century Transgender Studies. Available online a UA Library, but you might prefer a hard copy.

*Franco “Bifo” Berardi, After the Future (AK Press, 2011). Purchase or borrow.

*The Transgender Studies Reader Purchase or borrow.

*The Transgender Studies Reader 2. Purchase or borrow.

* John Protevi, Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences (Minnesota, 2013). Purchase or borrow.


Attendance and participation: you are required to come each week, do the readings, and actively participate; if you are shy and don’t like to speak up in class, please come to office hours for one-on-one discussion, or communicate regularly with me by email. This is the largest fraction of your grad for the course: 30%.

Research Paper: 15 pages, give or take, on some topic related to the class, demonstrating that you understand the material we’ve covered. Due December 15. This is the second largest fraction of your grade: 25%.

Reader Responses: each week, find a quote in one of the assigned readings and write about it, 250-500 words, to be posted on the D2L site for your colleagues to read at least one hour before class, as a way to help generate discussion. You can say what you like, don’t like, don’t understand, say how it relates to other readings or to you research project or other classes; you can be creative, pedantic, subjective, emotive, as long as you show me that you’ve actually engaged with the ideas in the text from which you are quoting. Portion of total grade: 15% 

Leading Class Discussion: once during the semester you will be responsible for co-facilitating the seminar with me. You’ll be expected to thoroughly understand and explain the reading that week, be able to answer questions from your colleagues, and have some questions prepared for discussion. Might be a good idea to meet with me in office hours the week before or the day of you turn at co-leading class, depending on your level of comfort or preparedness. Portion of total grade: 15%

Class Team-Teaching Exercise: In weeks 12 and 13 (November 10 and 17), half the class will read one book, and half the class will read another; you will all have to teach the book you read to the half of the class that didn’t. Each “team” will need to be self-organizing, and figure out a way to equitably distribute labor and responsibility. Each person will be graded individually on how well they participate in their team, and how effectively they teach their materials. Portion of total grade: 15%

Optional Meetings

I’m usually available to meet informally with students after seminar, to continue our discussions over food and drink at Gentle Ben’s or Pasco.  Absolutely not required.

We might want to hold class in the evening of Tuesday September 2, 6-9, if everybody is available, to make up for missing class on Labor Day. If feasible, we could screen the assigned film.



Week 1: August 25               Language Games

This first week of class, my goal is to suggest a framework for how we might talk about theorizing trans*, rather than what we say about it, and to create a space for uttering felicitous speech acts. Lyotard’s short-but-dense The Postmodern Condition is an oldie but a goodie, a great text for approaching the question of “language games” and “agonistics,” even if it has some cringe-worthy moments (talking about “the most highly developed” societies, and “primitive” ones). It’s also a key text for me in thinking historically about why and when trans studies emerged as a recognizable critical/intellectual project. I pair Donna Haraway’s “Cat’s Cradle” article with Lyotard to provide an alternative way of thinking about how we can engage in making statements about trans topics. (And for a lark, check out Finally, I would like us to engage with a very recent public dispute about the relationship between feminist and transgender politics, and read a couple of journalistic pieces through the lenses of this week’s texts.


*Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.

            Available online at _Postmodern_Condition.pdf

*Donna Haraway, “A Game of Cat’s Cradle: Science Studies, Feminist Theory, Cultural     Studies.” Configurations 2.1 (1994) 59-71, available online at:   

*Michelle Goldberg, “What is a Woman?”


*Julia Serano, “An Open Letter to The New Yorker.”


Week 2: September 1            Labor Day—No Class (Probably)

Although we (likely; see below) won’t meet this week because of the Labor Day holiday, I still want you to read and watch some things, as background for the discussions to come. While on the one hand we will be exploring ways in which trans studies advances unique concerns, we will also look at ways the field is in conversation with, and draws from, other fields and issues.  I’m particularly interested in ways that trans studies is in dialog with queer feminisms of color. To that end, if you have never read Chela Sandoval’s Methodology of the Oppressed, see if you can do so this week; at least skim it. Please, however, do look closely at Chapter Seven, “Revolutionary Force: Connecting Desire to Reality.” My goal this week is to build on last week’s foundation about how we might conduct excellent conversations, and to start tracing methodological connections between disparate but overlapping fields—feminism, critical race/ethnic studies, science studies, trans studies. In addition to reading a bit of Sandoval, I’d also like you to thumb through the first issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (if you have a print copy handy) which focuses on “key concepts for a 21st century transgender studies.” Listed below are several short keyword entries I’d particularly like you to be familiar with (these are the assigned readings, downloadable from the UA library). To continue exploring ideas about how and why trans studies emerges when and where it does, I’d like you to take a look at a short, easy-to-ready chapter from Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s After the Future. How might “transgender knowledges” have to do not only with the postmodern conditions described by Lyotard, but with the political and economic crises of the 20th century as described by Berardi? How do these texts talk to each other? And finally, please watch a difficult but rewarding film (preferably after you have done the assigned reading): Werner Rainer Fassbinder’s In A Year of Thirteen Moons. The film deals with a surgically sex-changed person in the 1970s, and does lots of artsy things with sound, voice-over, asynchronous word/images, and television news footage to situate trans embodiment as a problem within emergent neoliberal conditions. At least that’s how I see it. Please note that this film includes graphic footage of cattle being butchered in a slaughterhouse. 

(Note: I would be available to meet Tuesday, September 2, if everybody else is, in the evening after 6pm. We could either hold a regular seminar session, or simply get together to watch In A Year of Thirteen Moons.)


*Chela Sandoval, Methodology of the Oppressed.

Try to skim all of it if you haven’t read it before, but see especially Chapter Seven, “Revolutionary Force: Connecting Desire to Reality,” pp. 159-178. It’s available as a pdf here:

*TSQ 1.1-2, Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a Twenty-First Century Transgender Studies, browse the whole issue, but make sure to read these entries: Becoming, Biopolitics, Capacity, Disability, Guerilla, Handmade, Identity, Islam and Islamophobia, Line of Flight, La Loca, Nature, Pedagogy, Queer, Revolution, Sick, Sinophone, Somatechnics, The State, Subaltern, Tatume, Tranifest, Translation, Transition, Transxenoestrogenesis, Whiteness. Available online from UA Library. A pdf of the issue is available on the class D2L site, or a print copy is available for purchase from Duke University Press. 

*Franco “Bifo” Berardi, After the Future (AK Press, 2011); excerpt, pp. 1-59. PDF available on D2L site.


*Werner Rainer Fassbinder, In A Year of Thirteen Moons (1978; 124 minutes). Available streaming on D2L.

Week 3: September 8            Transgender Studies 1.0

This week we will discuss the first iteration of the field of transgender studies in the 1990s. Through close reading, I want us to pay particular attention to the ways that two foundational works of white transfeminism draw on the critical and theoretical texts we have read over the past two weeks. Pay attention to modes of address in these works: who is talking to whom about what? What language games do they enact? If you have not read the first volume of The Transgender Studies Reader (TSR1) you might consider flipping through it. In any event, please do read the introduction to that volume, “(De)Subjugated Knowledges.”

We will have a class visitor this week, Kim Coco Iwamoto; see: and


*Sandy Stone, “The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto,” available in         TSR1 or online here:         manifesto.pdf

*Susan Stryker, “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix”

            Available in TSR1 or online here:


*Susan Stryker, “(De)Subjugated Knowledges: An Introduction to Transgender Studies”

            Available in TSR1 or online here:


Week 4: September 15          Transgender Studies 2.0

The field of transgender studies underwent significant shifts in the early 21st century, moving away from autoethnographic and identitarian work with an Anglophone and North American bias, towards a more expansive transnational framework, and greater attention to structural and systemic concerns. Please read the introductory essay “Transgender Studies 2.0” to orient yourselves to recent trends in the field (and if you have a chance, browse the collection The Transgender Studies Reader 2). We will focus, however, on reading the current issue of TSQ, “Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary.”


*Susan Stryker and Aren Aizura, “Transgender Studies 2.0” intro to The Transgender Studies Reader 2. PDF Available on D2L.

*TSQ 1.3 Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary

(This is supposed to be published in time to read for this class but if not I will provide a pdf on D2L).

Week 5: September 22          TransMaterialities, the (In)Human, and Deleuze

After having spent a couple of weeks focusing more narrowly on trans studies as a field, it’s time to spread our theoretical wings, branch out, and reach for far-flung connections. We’ll begin with  Karen Barad’s “TransMaterialities,” which allows us to loop recursively back through a reading we spent time with earlier in the semester, while continuing to delve deeper into the applicability of feminist science studies methodologies for trans studies. We’ll follow this up with a series of short position statements from several scholars working in the posthumanities; these, like Barad’s piece, are forthcoming in a special issue of GLQ on Queer Inhumanisms. Next we’ll look at Mel Chen’s “Animals Without Genitals,” which brings a Deleuzian perspective to queer of color critique. If you haven’t read Chen’s extremely useful Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke, 2012), you might consider familiarizing yourself with it as much as possible before class—or at least before your Ph.D. qualifying exams. Finally, the in biggest stretch of the semester, because they have nothing explicitly to do with trans studies, we’ll read the introductions (there are two) to John Protevi’s Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences. Taken together, they open up opportunities for introducing nonlinear systems theory, as well as the study of emergent phenomena, into trans theorizing. How might it be useful to think of gender systems as a phase space, of transgender phenomena as strange attractors, or of embodied identities as autopoeitic assemblages?


*Karen Barad, “TransMaterialities: Trans*/Matter/Realities and Queer Political       Imaginings,” forthcoming in Queer Inhumanisms special issue of GLQ; available           on D2L.

*Queer Inhumanisms Dossier, forthcoming in Queer Inhumanisms special issue of GLQ,   available on D2L.

*Mel Y. Chen (2010) Animals without Genitals: Race and Transsubstantiation, Women &            Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 20:3, 285-297, DOI:        10.1080/0740770X.2010.529253

*John Protevi, “Introduction I: Delueze and the Sciences” and “Introduction II: Varela      and Bodies Politic,” in Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences (Minnesota:     2013). PDF on D2L

Week 6: September 29          Racial Biopolitics

We are still in the theoretical heart of the course, reaching for methodological connections, but we are starting to slow down, aiming for closer readings of longer works rather than taking a scatter-shot approach. This week and next we’ll devote our attention to a new book that I haven’t read yet but which looks interesting—Andrew Weheliye’s Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Duke, 2014). One goal here is to model a kind of reading and thinking practice—as new scholarship is produced, how does it amplify, extend, contradict, refine, refocus, or undermine what we already think we know about things we’ve already been interested in? Hopefully—and, if so, we’ll all learn this together—Weheliye  (like Chen) can help us think more rigorously and creatively about the critical utility of racial biopolitics within trans studies. This week we will spend some class time brainstorming about your research papers, helping each other tie our readings to our particular topics.

*Andrew Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Duke, 2014). Read the first half (pp. 1-73) 

Week 7: October 6                Racial Biopolitics (Continued)

Still going slow, finishing up the last half of Weheliye, and talking about our research projects. Ideally, by this stage of the class, we’ll all be fairly bursting with idea and the conversations are going to be really great. Think of this class as the semester’s pivot; we’re now through with all of the theory, method, and field formation readings, and will be concentrating from this point forward on applying what we’ve learned to a select handful of recent texts of interest. If there’s anything we feel like we’ve rushed through in previous weeks, this would be a good time to revisit it.



*Andrew Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Duke, 2014). Read the second half (pp. 74-138).


Week 8: October 13             Testo Junkie

The first stop on our tour of recent texts is  Beatriz (Beto) Preciado’s Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. Beto keeps promising to come to Tucson, but not quite making it here. Oh, well; Testo Junkie is still worth reading. It’s a wild ride, veering stylishly through lots of themes and ideas that we’ve explored this semester. How useful do you find it to think with? To imitate methodologically? To mine for its associative linkages? I have a pdf that I will put on the D2L site if you don’t want to buy the book.


*Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era (Feminist Press, 2013), first half (pp. 1-224).

Week 9: October 20              Testo Junkie (Continued)

If you’re not hearing echoes in this text of Berardi, Fassbinder, and Deleuze, you really aren’t paying attention.


*Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era (Feminist Press, 2013), second half (pp. 225-427).

Week 10: October 27            Professing Selves

Next stop on the recent titles tour is Afsaneh Najmabadi’s Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke, 2013). If you really want to geek out, take a look at Najmabadi’s earlier book, Women with Moustaches and Men Without Beards, which investigates the role of gender/sexuality in the formation of modern Iran in the 19th century; her interest in contemporary transsexuality stems from this earlier research, and provides a fascinating case study in the relationship between practices and discourses of identiy/embodiment/desire and practices and discourses of state and nation. Professing Selves mixes ethnography with historical research to give an exhaustive account of its subject. Given the ways in which “Iranian Transsexuality” figures rhetorically in contemporary homonationalist imaginaries in a time of persistent geopolitical tensions between the US and the IRI, Najmabadi’s empirically grounded study has an importance that exceeds its contribution to transgender studies.


Afsaneh Najmabadi, Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke, 2013), first half, pp. 1-162.

Week 11: November  3         Professing Selves (Continued)

We’ll finish Najmabadi this week. Consider checking out other work on transsexuality in Iran by such scholars as Roshanak Keshti, Minoo Moallem, Sima Shakhsari, and Finn Enke, or looking at some of the mainstream and gay media coverage of Iranian transsexuality circa 2003-13; bonus points if you can connect these topics to TERF discourses about “women’s space” in the US and UK.  If there is interest, we can perhaps screen the film Be Like Others after class.


*Afsaneh Najmabadi, Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran (Duke, 2013), second half, pp. 163-302.

Week 12: November 10        Queens

Pedagogical innovation can stem from instructor indecisiveness. There are two recent books I couldn’t choose between: Marcia Ochoa’s Queen For a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela (Duke, 2014), and Marlon Bailey’s Butch Queen Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (Michigan, 2013). How cool is it that both deal with performance, gender, femininity, queerness, and queens? Because both books deal with similar topics, there will be ample opportunity to compare and contrast the works. I could have simply assigned one book per week, but I didn’t want you to have to read that much, since you really should be writing your research papers by now. Instead, I’d like each of you to choose one book or the other to read. As has been the case over the past few weeks, I’d like you to read half of that book this week, and half next week. Each half of the class will need to teach their book to the other half of the class, who will not have read it. Pretend that you will have one of these books on your comps reading list, that you don’t have time to actually read it, and that you will depend on the notes that a friend took on that book. Be that friend for somebody else, the one who writes those notes and teaches the main concepts in the book, and helps connect these works to other things that we’ve read. Divide yourselves up into two groups, and figure out among yourselves how to collaboratively teach the books to each other; you have each other’s email addresses. You’ll be graded individually on the quality of your presentations/participation in class. This will be my chance to sit back and see how much you’ve learned this semester.

Read one of the following:

Marcia Ochoa’s Queen For a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela (Duke, 2014), first half, pp. 1-126

Marlon Bailey’s Butch Queen Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (Michigan, 2013) pp. 1-123.

Week 13 November 17          Queens (Continued)

Same as last week.

Read one of the following:

*Marcia Ochoa’s Queen For a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela (Duke, 2014), second half, pp. 127-246

*Marlon Bailey’s Butch Queen Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit (Michigan, 2013)second half, pp. 124-254.

Week 14: November 24        Arresting Dress

This is Thanksgiving Week, during which I usually don’t teach during because often nobody is around, but I think we have to this time, given that we missed class on Labor Day, and I have to cancel the last class of the semester due to international travel. As we coast downhill to the finish line, we have one more recent book to explore, Clare Sear’s Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in San Francisco (Duke, 2015). I find Sears’ book really easy to read. It’s theoretically sophisticated but written in a very accessible style—proving you don’t have to write in poststructuralist jargon to show that you’re smart. Most useful, I think is the way that Sears brings together questions of transness, disability, race, whiteness and public space and ties them all up an elegant little bundle through the concept of “problem bodies.”


*Clare Sears, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in San Francisco (Duke, 2015), first half, pp. 1-125.

Week 15: December 1           Arresting Dress

If anybody is interested, I have a copy of Clare Sears’ dissertation, from which this book is derived. I think it might be useful for you, as you think about your own dissertation projects and contemplate life as an assistant professor, to see what’s involved in turning your dissertation manuscript into a book. Just let me know. Besides enjoying the last 105 pages of reading for this class, we’ll spend some time workshopping your research papers. Everybody should be prepared to present for 5-10 minutes.


*Clare Sears, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in San Francisco (Duke, 2015), second half, pp. 126-231.

Week 16: December 8           No class

I’m going to be keynoting conferences in Australia and New Zealand: “Provocations: Cultural Studies Association of Austalasia 2014,” at the University of Wollongong December 3-5, and “Space, Race, Bodies: Geocorpographies of City, Nation, Empire,” at the University of Otago, December 8-11. I trust you’ll appreciate having a little slack in your schedule this week. I’ll looking forward to reading your papers, which are due in my email inbox by December 15.


hi liz, i just wanted to say hi and that i love #socialmediaanxieties so far and that it's so cool that you're at UA! i'm finishing up my bfa in the photo program there in december. cheers!


thank you, this is so sweet! if you have an exit show you should let me know.


(Source: dddreamy)

8.21.2014 International Conference: Announcement and Call for Proposals — Open Embodiments: Locating Somatechnics in Tucson

April 15-18
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona USA

Hosted by:
Somatechnics Research Network
University of Arizona Center for Critical Studies of the Body
University of Arizona Institute for LGBT Studies
University of Arizona Department of Gender and Women’s Studies

Open Embodiments is an international conference marking the relocation of the Somatechnics Research Network to the University of Arizona’s new Center for Critical Studies of the Body. Founded in 2005 by Nikki Sullivan and colleagues in the Department of Critical and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney, the Somatechnics Research Network is an international, transdisciplinary group of more than 500 researchers interested in the “always already” technologized nature of embodiment—that is, in the sense in which embodiments cannot be distinguished from the means and methods of their making, that they are contingent, emergent, actualized, and materialized relations between some parts of a milieu and others. Somatechnics conjoins an open-ended curiosity about embodiment in our contemporary techno-nature-culture contexts with an ethics of embodied difference derived from feminist, queer, transgender, disability, and critical race methodologies, and with a political commitment to dismantling and refiguring those social technologies that maldistribute the means of life and survival according to modes of embodiment, including anthropocentric hierarchies of value.

Over four days, conference participants will have the opportunity to connect their scholarly, artistic, creative, and activist engagement with embodiment’s openness to the geophysical/geospatial location of Tucson, Arizona, in the U.S./Mexico borderlands: to the surreal beauty and hazards of the Sonoran Desert, to the many vital local cultures of resistance to the militarized violence of the border and to the state’s ugly and damaging race/gender/sexuality politics, as well as to the University of Arizona’s historic commitment to interdisciplinary research and scholarship in the physical and life sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. The conference will take place in numerous venues in Tucson’s revitalized historic downtown as well as the nearby University of Arizona campus. In addition to breakout sessions for delivering academic papers and keynote presentations from internationally renowned thinkers and culture-makers, Open Embodiments will include film screenings, performances, workshops, and other public events.


We welcome paper, panel, presentation, and workshop proposals on these or related topics:

  • Critical studies of the body/embodiment
  • Environments, environmentalisms, ecologies, and embodiments
  • Inhuman/nonhuman/posthuman embodiments
  • Indigenous and racialized embodied knowledges 
  • Disability/crip theory
  • Embodied Consciousness
  • Senses/sensoria/synesthesia 
  • Critical life sciences
  • Geophilosophy and philosophy of the body
  • Rights- and justice-oriented activism/organizing
  • Technologies of race and racism
  • Technologies of sex and gender
  • Transgender/queer embodiments
  • Animal studies/critical studies of plant/fungal life
  • Masculinities
  • Freaks and monsters/teratology 
  • Science and technology studies
  • Feminist science and/or feminist science studies
  • Biomedical technologies/transgenic life
  • Robotics, AI, and Cognition
  • Neo-vitalist, panpsychic, and process ontologies
  • Biopolitics and necropolitics
  • Bodies, technologies, and war
  • Critical surveillance and security studies
  • Health, illness, disease
  • Life, death, survival
  • Migration, immigration, migrants, borders
  • Enspaced, emplaced, and located bodies
  • Oases, refuge, asylum
  • Embodiments of trauma/traumatized bodies
  • Bodies in performance, fields of vision, and sonic environments
  • Social justice practices rooted in mindfulness, spirituality, and religion 
  • Reproduction/reproductive technologies
  • Embodied Practices of Cultivating Care and Openness
  • Embodied Openness as Ethical Practice
  • Emergent Techniques of the Body
  • Religious formations of Embodiment
  • Critical Legal Studies of the Body and Embodiment

Please submit an abstract/proposal of no more than 250 words for individual papers or presentations; proposals for panels or group presentations should include additional abstracts of no more than 250 words each for each presenter or presentation in the group. Please include a one-paragraph biography of each presenter.

Abstracts/Proposals are due 29 August 2014. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 29 September 2014. Please address all correspondence to:

For more information, please visit our Facebook page at:

Or the Somatechnics Research Network’s temporary homepage at:




Yesterday my Semiotexte publisher and I discussed love and sex over the phone. I told him about OK Cupid, which I’ve never used. And won’t use. He told me about Grindr. He said: “I have too much respect for language to use something like that for sex. You grind meat, or your hips. You don’t grind people.”

I like people who do things, or don’t do things, on principle.


no! i don’t talk about them (plural) because they’re mostly ani difranco lyrics and too much precious girlhood wasted on teenage/20yr old boys. i was the only feminist within a fifty mile radius and i think i wrote you this a while back, but my first two feminist texts were SCUM and intercourse. you can imagine the cognitive dissonance in a radical feminist poor kid living on a rich island in the southeast. people tell me i was raised by wolves and i think i’m embarrassed about those livejournals b/c it really shows, but it’s the solace i found in quiet, pedagogical internet space that really lifted me out of my circumstances and saved my life. did you have one?

revisionist ethics 



poem by sara woods, this poem is featured in the yolo pages boosthouse

will seriously follow these directions on the 2nd day back to work because the 1st was that way



1) someone trying to describe me this week

2) an entry from my livejournal 8 years ago. "i don’t know what i am connected to!"

this season's themes