CFP: MLA 2021 Special Session -- Scaling Trans Studies (January 7th - 10th 2021; Toronto, ON)

Davy Knittle's picture

In her 2014 Transgender Studies Quarterly article, "The Technical Capacities of the Body, Assembling Race, Technology, and Transgender," Jules Gill-Peterson argues that "if both transgender and race benefit from treatment as technical capacities of the body, it remains to explain how it is they retain their differences in this framework as well as how they are made more or less available at various ecological scales by systems of normalization and regulation" (412). Chaired by Mel Chen, this panel builds on decolonial, environmental, and trans of color approaches to how systems of normalization regulate bodies and their social, political, and ecological contexts, and takes up Gill-Peterson's call to describe how race and trans constitute one another at scales from the hormone molecule to patterns of transnational migration.


We seek papers that set trans as an analytic in dialogue with scholarship in postcolonial critique, Black studies, the environmental humanities, disability studies, science and technology studies to explore what a multi-scalar reading of trans makes evident about how gendered and racialized logics of regulation structure the movement within the body and across the globe of people, weather, goods, and information.


We hope that the papers in this panel contribute to a conversation that expands upon Jasbir Puar's claim in her 2017 book The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, following Hortense Spillers, that "gender normativity coagulates through biopolitical control of reproduction, civilizational discourses, and racial hierarchies" (39). We aim to situate trans analysis across scales as an important interlocutor for discourses of global political, social, cultural, and environmental change by describing how gender and its racialized normalization is a constitutive logic of what globality is, as well as how beings and systems behave. Specifically, by reading trans across scales, we aim to further a conversation about how trans approaches to questions of power and representation might move beyond the scalar frame of the trans body that has been canonical to feminist, queer, and trans theoretical engagements with the trans body to address questions of social reproduction, political power, and medical and environmental ethics. Send abstracts of 250-300 words to and by Tuesday, March 10th.