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Women’s & Gender Studies Talk: “Between the Times: Trans-Temporality and Cisnormativity in the Archives”

February 27, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Dr. Jacob Lau, Carolina postdoctoral fellow, Program for Faculty Diversity, will present the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies talk, Between the Times: Trans-Temporality and Cisnormativity in the Archives.

While the field of transgender studies has emerged at the boundaries of feminist and queer theory, until recently little has been done to theorize “trans” as an intersectional category that is always formed through constructions of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, and imperialism. Grounded in queer of color critique, women of color feminism, and postcolonial approaches to historicism, this talk utilizes Dr. Lau’s methodology of trans-temporality to read through the archives memorializing black street queen Marsha P. Johnson and mixed race Chinese American trans man Christopher Lee. Johnson, a co-founder of New York’s Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries in 1970, was one of the foremothers of gay and trans political movements in the United States. Lee was one of the first filmmakers documenting transmasculine people of color in the Bay Area, he co-founded the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival in 1997, and his misgendering after death sparked the passage of California’s Respect After Death Act (2014) allowing for the revision of gender identity markers on death certificates posthumously.

By navigating Johnson and Lee’s archives, Dr. Lau will demonstrate how cisnormative time renders trans narratives, bodies, and lives precarious, and the ways in which trans of color affect, demonstrated through Johnson’s organizing and Lee’s cultural production, refuses and contests a reliance on legibility and visibility as processes for trans of color acceptance and safety.


February 27, 2019
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm