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Between the Times: Trans-Temporality, and Historical Representation

  • Author(s): Lau, Jacob Roberts
  • Advisor(s): Hong, Kyungwon
  • et al.
Abstract

While the field of transgender studies has recently emerged at the boundaries of feminist and queer theory, only recently have scholars begun to theorize “trans” as an intersectional category that is always formed through constructions of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, and imperialism. This project contributes to this conversation by arguing for reading trans history, memoir and literary representation as a different experience of gendered and racialized time. In order to survive a cis (non-trans) normative world, trans bodies, narratives, and lives are narrated as a linear transition from one gender and/or sex to another in ways that preserve gender binaries and developmental notions of progress. Coining the term “trans-temporality” as both an experiential affect and a method of reading trans narratives against normative notions of sex, gender, race, class, sexuality and nationality, my project primarily thinks transgender through postcolonial, queer, and historical materialist theorizations of time and historicism that push against and suggest alternatives to purely linear temporalities, situating trans within traditions of temporal critique, and affective histories of non-normative embodiment.

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