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Trans* and Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Contemporary Cultural Issues

Reading Group organized by Alvaro Lopez (a.a.lopeznavarro@uva.nl) and Mina Burnside (theminahunt@gmail.com).

The critical domain and scope of trans studies and psychoanalysis comprises a number of different—and sometimes diverging—fields of research, theoretical stances, and methodological approaches. From sexuality and embodiment to cultural manifestations, from social and political dynamics to intricate processes of subject formation, trans and psychoanalytic perspectives offer a critical tool to tackle the complexities of the contemporary context. Yet more often than not, these perspectives are perceived as detached from each other, or even oppositional and conflicting. However, unlikely as the trans-psychoanalysis paring may sound, these perspectives have more in common than it would appear at first sight. Moreover, as recent approaches in trans studies and psychoanalysis attest to, their critical perspectives cross paths and enter into conversation with each other, enabling an insightful tool for assessment and analysis of the multiple transformations, situations, and pressing issues of the present moment.

The aim of this reading group is to approach recent works on trans studies and psychoanalysis as a means to open a space for a critical engagement with these perspectives and the insights they provide with regard to contemporary cultural issues: from transphobia and violence to life and livability in times of pandemic, from Black Lives Matter to new gender registration policies in the EU. For each of the group sessions, two texts/approaches will be selected in order to address a specific contemporary issue. Each of these texts/approaches will independently engage or combine trans and psychoanalytic perspectives capable of shedding light on the issue selected. During the first session, the issue addressed will be “trans (mis)representation in contemporary media.” This issue will be addressed in light of Patricia Gherovici’s introduction and first chapter for Transgender Psychoanalysis (2017), as well as Che Gossett’s “Blackness and the Trouble of Trans Visibility” in Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (2017), edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the meeting for blocks 3 and 4 this year will take place on Zoom. The first session will take place on February 17, and the subsequent meetings will take place on March 17, April 14, May 12, and June 2.

We invite scholars, researchers, and graduate students interested in widening the academic and critical engagement with these perspectives and their critical tackling of contemporary issues and events. This reading group is a collaboration between ASCA, ICON, NICA and NOG. RMA and PhD students can obtain up to 2 ECTS: 1 EC for participating in at least three of the sessions, and an extra EC for writing a final reflection of about 2.000 words addressing the potential of these fields of research in relation to contemporary cultural issues (please state the amount of credits desired upon registration).To join, please email the organizers Alvaro Lopez (a.a.lopeznavarro@uva.nl) and Mina Burnside (theminahunt@gmail.com).