CFP « Transfeminisms: Feminist Transition Politics »

Call for papers

N°1 | 2014 – Transfeminisms: Feminist Transition Politics

Editors : Kira Ribeiro, Ian Zdanowicz

In this issue of Comment S’en Sortir ? we wish to map the alliances, common struggles and translations of concepts between trans, feminist, anti-racist and queer movements and theories that we collect under the concept of “transfeminisms”. Transfeminism has been defined as a movement for trans women, by trans women (Koyama, 2003), as a feminist project in which trans women fully belong to the political subject “women”. We wish to reflect on the concept of transfeminisms by moving away from the “women” category. Through the use of this term, we want, on the one hand, to reclaim feminist tools in order to consider trans subjectivities. On the other hand, we want to encourage feminism to revaluate its own critical tools. Therefore, we refer to the perspectives on transfeminism recently offered by Kristina Scott-Dixon (2006), Gayle Salamon (2010) or Anne Finn Enke (2012), for they question the critical, self-reflexive, interdisciplinary and unruly potential of this term. According to these authors, « transfeminism » is not a subdivision of feminism. Instead, it represents the possibility of a radical paradigm shift within Feminist Theory and Gender Studies ; an epistemological turn rendering the dichotomies upon which many theories took form (sex/gender; man/woman; biological/social; materiality/performativity) obsolete.
Through the term “transfeminism”, we wish, firstly, to think about theoretical practices introduced by trans subjects (of knowledge) in feminism. Secondly, we wish to address the multiple trans uses, ways, and arts of making regarding queer and feminist tools, as well as arts of making it involved in the fabrication of the bodies, subjectivities, engagement and languages of trans people.

We do not wish to recreate a global vision of the exchanges between Trans Theories and Feminist Theories, but rather to focus on a selected number of important issues in order to build theoretically and politically fructuous transfeminist convergences.

TOPICS
  • Sex, gender, and sexuality: definitions and boundaries

Taking trans issues into account, our task is not only to think about what it means to be or become a “man” or a “woman” and how it appears to be a problematic dichotomy in view of trans subjectivities, but also to think about how terms such as “cisgender”, “transgender”, “transsexual”, “trans”, “trans*”, “trans-” (to name only a few) renew the issue of boundaries between biology, culture, social, technology, and politics.

  • Materiality/performativity of the body : trans bodies phenomenology

Is gender only a performance? Is it a fantasy, game, psyche, or language, normative, legal, or administrative acts? Or is it exclusively material and prediscursive, a matter of pure flesh, anatomy, and biology? How and where do the boundaries between the bodies and identities of butch, FtM, queen, king, boi, MtF, fem, genderfucker, trans, tranny, and other queer identities stand, whether in Paris, Barcelona, New York, Berlin, Bombay, Tel Aviv, or São Paulo? What are the tensions, conflicts, and issues between trans communities and queer communities depending on geopolitical and economical contexts? Do queer thoughts help us to consider trans identities or do they “invisibilize” them, as Viviane Namaste says (2000)?

  • Psychiatric power and medical power

The diversity of trans politics and trans identities leads us to think about the plurality of relations in psychiatric power. We want to ask the following questions: How do psychiatric power and medical power produce “transsexualism” as a mental illness? Do they take place within the power apparatuses described by Michel Foucault – the production and management of the population, state appropriation of “sex”, and paradox of differential diagnostic (Dorlin, 2011)? Conversely, how did trans patients contribute to modifying the analytical frame of gender issues at work in sexual psychopathology, psychoanalysis, and psychology of gender? How did they contribute to renewing the critic of sexual binary and to reconsidering the legitimacy of normalization processes of bodies and subjectivities (Sennot and Smith, 2011)?

  • Subjectivation/objectivation: epistemological issues and the institutionalization of Trans Studies

The development of research on trans issues in francophone European universities urges us to reflect on the relation between objectivation and subjectivation, between neutrality and partiality, and between the political and the scientific, and doing so taking into consideration the specificities of trans issues and research on this topic. On the other side of the Atlantic, regarding Trans Studies as well as other fields, the institutionalization of knowledge raises several questions: how can we go beyond a discourse on ourselves? Should we look for a better discourse on ourselves? Does one have to be trans to do Trans Studies? Do Trans Studies lead to an inevitably militant knowledge limited to trans issues? How can we link trans issues to power relations of class, sexuality, race, age, religion, etc.?

DEADLINES and CONTACT
  • Deadline for submitting proposals: May 15, 2013
    Acceptance decisions will be communicated by May 31, 2013
  • Deadline for sending complete articles: November 15, 2013
    Definitive acceptance: December 15, 2013
  • Publication: Spring 2014
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