TransGenre, TransMigrations: An Evening with Aren Aizura, Kadji Amin, Jian Chen, and Jordy Rosenberg

Event date: 
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

cover images of books for 11 8 event

Join Charis in welcoming Kadji Amin, Aren Z. Aizura, Jian Neo Chen, and Jordy Rosenberg to share their latest works and discuss the ways in which transness as an identity category can also teach us about the mutability of many "naturalized" narratives of the body, space, citizenship, and art. This is a Charis Circle From Margin to Center Literary Event. The suggested donation is $5.

Author photos of panelists

About the authors:

Kadji Amin is the author of Disturbing Attachments Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History. He is Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University.

Jean Genet (1910–1986) resonates, perhaps more than any other canonical queer figure from the pre-Stonewall past, with contemporary queer sensibilities attuned to a defiant non-normativity. Not only sexually queer, Genet was also a criminal and a social pariah, a bitter opponent of the police state, and an ally of revolutionary anticolonial movements. In Disturbing Attachments, Kadji Amin challenges the idealization of Genet as a paradigmatic figure within queer studies to illuminate the methodological dilemmas at the heart of queer theory. Pederasty, which was central to Genet's sexuality and to his passionate cross-racial and transnational political activism late in life, is among a series of problematic and outmoded queer attachments that Amin uses to deidealize and historicize queer theory. He brings the genealogy of Genet's imaginaries of attachment to bear on pressing issues within contemporary queer politics and scholarship, including prison abolition, homonationalism, and pinkwashing. Disturbing Attachments productively and provocatively unsettles queer studies by excavating the history of its affective tendencies to reveal and ultimately expand the contexts that inform the use and connotations of the term queer.

Aren Z. Aizura  is the author of Mobile Subjects: Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment and is Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota and coeditor of The Transgender Studies Reader 2.

The first famous transgender person in the United States, Christine Jorgensen, traveled to Denmark for gender reassignment surgery in 1952. Jorgensen became famous during the ascent of postwar dreams about the possibilities for technology to transform humanity and the world. In Mobile Subjects Aren Z. Aizura examines transgender narratives within global health and tourism economies from 1952 to the present. Drawing on an archive of trans memoirs and documentaries as well as ethnographic fieldwork with trans people obtaining gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, Aizura maps the uneven use of medical protocols to show how national and regional health care systems and labor economies contribute to and limit transnational mobility. Aizura positions transgender travel as a form of biomedical tourism, examining how understandings of race, gender, and aesthetics shape global cosmetic surgery cultures and how economic and racially stratified marketing and care work create the ideal transgender subject as an implicitly white, global citizen. In so doing, he shows how understandings of travel and mobility depend on the historical architectures of colonialism and contemporary patterns of global consumption and labor.

Jian Neo Chen is the author of Trans Exploits: Trans of Color Cultures and Technologies in Movement and is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University.

In Trans Exploits Jian Neo Chen explores the cultural practices created by trans and gender nonconforming artists and activists of color. They argue for a radical rethinking of the policies and technologies of racial gendering and assimilative social programming that have divided LGBT communities and communities of color along the lines of gender, sexuality, class, immigration status, and ability. Focusing on performance, film/video, literature, digital media, and other forms of cultural expression and activism that track the displaced emergences of trans people of color, Chen highlights the complex and varied responses by trans communities to their social dispossession. Through these responses, trans of color cultural workers such as performance artist Yozmit, writer Janet Mock, and organizer Jennicet Gutiérrez challenge dominating perceptions and institutions that kill, confine, police, and discipline trans people.

Jordy Rosenberg is the author of Confessions of the Fox: A Novel and is an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he teaches eighteenth-century literature and gender and sexuality studies. 

Confessions of the Fox  (Random House US/Canada, Atlantic Books UK, Allen & Unwin Australia/New Zealand, forthcoming in Czech from Paseka) is a formally experimental novel, combining fiction, metafiction and autofiction to create what the New York Times describes as a “mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid 18th-century London. . .a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime and revolution.” The novel uses archival material to re-envision the life of notorious prison-break artist, Jack Sheppard (1702-1724), who was also the inspiration for Bertolt Brecht’s 1928 Threepenny Opera and John Gay’s 1728 Beggar’s Opera. In Rosenberg's retelling, the novel draws out the previously unremarked extent to which archival representations of Sheppard as sexually deviant were central to his crafting as an icon of resistance. In this sense, Rosenberg encounters the official archives symptomatically – as evincing but not fully articulating the obsessions, authorizing conditions, and utopian potentials latent within their material. The novel thus literalizes and exacerbates those aspects of Sheppard’s gender and sexual deviance symptomatized within the archives, and connects those particulars with the broader history of modern British imperialism. Building on the history of sexology, prison records, early-modern memoir, jailhouse confessions, and the birth of British policing and colonial projects, Rosenberg creates a version of Sheppard’s life that doubles as a fictionalized history of queerness and of transgender experimentation. In this sense, the novel both creates a narrative lifeworld for readers to imagine and to connect with alternate histories of sex and gender, as well as presents and proposes an innovative methodology for working with – and pushing the boundaries of – the official archives. Confessions is as much about what escapes the grasp of recorded histories as it is about the archive as such. It is, in this way, an argument for fiction as the necessary complement to the archive – a shadow liming the contours of the occluded, elided and sequestered potentialities crystallized within recorded history, and without which any archive must be understood to be incomplete.

 

 

Event address: 
1189 Euclid Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Disturbing Attachments: Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History (Theory Q) Cover Image
$28.55
ISBN: 9780822369172
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Duke University Press - October 2nd, 2017

Jean Genet (1910-1986) resonates, perhaps more than any other canonical queer figure from the pre-Stonewall past, with contemporary queer sensibilities attuned to a defiant non-normativity. Not only sexually queer, Genet was also a criminal and a social pariah, a bitter opponent of the police state, and an ally of revolutionary anticolonial movements.


Mobile Subjects: Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment (Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and) Cover Image
$28.55
ISBN: 9781478001560
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Duke University Press - November 1st, 2018

The first famous transgender person in the United States, Christine Jorgensen, traveled to Denmark for gender reassignment surgery in 1952. Jorgensen became famous during the ascent of postwar dreams about the possibilities for technology to transform humanity and the world. In Mobile Subjects Aren Z.


Trans Exploits: Trans of Color Cultures and Technologies in Movement (Anima) Cover Image
$26.35
ISBN: 9781478000877
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: Duke University Press - October 12th, 2018

In Trans Exploits Jian Neo Chen explores the cultural practices created by trans and gender nonconforming artists and activists of color.


Confessions of the Fox: A Novel Cover Image
$24.30
ISBN: 9780399592270
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: One World - June 26th, 2018

New York Times Editors’ Choice: “A mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, eighteenth century London . . . a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime, and revolution.”