Transnational Approaches to Transgender Studies

This presentation is formed at the intersection of contemporary transgender studies and transnational feminism. It thus foregrounds the extent to which essentialist or mimetic understandings of sexed embodiment, gender identity and expression undergird exclusionary nationalistic ideologies and understands the ‘trans’ in both terms as disrupting traditional notions of sexual identity and national belonging. In this way, it activates the feminist politics embedded in both traditions and examines how such discourses of liberation may mutually reinforce and complement one another. At the same time, it resists any simplistic conflation of these terms and instead thinks through their productive convergences and divergences. For example, this paper asks how transgender studies scholars’ theorization of trans* identities as misaligned with established notions of time and space might connect or depart from a transnational feminist tradition centered on permeable national boundaries and international coalitions.

Relatedly, it considers how both theoretical traditions encourage a notion of individual and collective subjectivity as highly relational, mobile, and mutable in direct contradistinction to western notions of identity as fixed and impermeable. In examining the gendered transformations and indeterminacies of various historical actors and cultural representations within a transnational framework, this paper decenters nationalistic tendencies for interpreting cultural archives, forges rich connections between non normatively gendered subjects from around the world, and prioritizes those often abjected to the margins of contemporary national, feminist, and queer debates and conversations. 


Rachel Warner, Doctoral Candidate
Department of English and Comparative Literature
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Presenter

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Rachel Warner is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. Her research interests include twentieth-century American literature, women’s and gender studies, queer of color critique, and animal studies. She also co-directs the graduate working group Literature, Medicine and Culture Colloquium (LMCC) which explores topics in health humanities. She is currently working on her dissertation, a literary and cultural history of female masculinity in American modernism. 

Attend this Presentation

Day One (Friday, October 9th, 2020) | Session One (6:00pm - 7:00pm)

Duration: 10 minutes

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