Graduate Journal of Social Science

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vol. 7, issue 2

Transgender Studies & Theories: Building Up the Field in a Nordic Context


Full Issue [PDF]


Front Matter: [PDF] and Contributors: [PDF].


Katherine Harrison and Ulrica Engdahl
Editorial - Transgender Studies and Theories: Building up the Field in a Nordic Context
GJSS 2010 7:2. 8-18. [PDF]

Nina Lykke
Welcome to the conference: Transgender studies and theories-building up the field in a Nordic context
GJSS 2010 7:2. 19-24. [PDF] 

Abstract: As a welcoming address to the conference 'Transgender Studies and Theories – Building up the Field in a Nordic Context', the article discusses relations between the fields of Gender Studies and Transgender Studies. Following Judith Butler's critique of 'proper objects', the author warns against a construction of a binary between the study of 'gender' and the study of 'transgender'. She argues that Gender Studies and Transgender Studies should be seen as intra-acting and mutually transforming fields of enquiry which among others share an interest in trans-epistemologies, the construction of knowledge transgressive and transitional spaces. She ends with a comment to the autobiography of
Christine Jorgensen whose MtF surgery hit the headlines of the world press in 1952, and to a family mystery which illustrates the problematic mix of silencing and sensationalism which for years characterized mainstream approaches to transgender issues.

Transgender Studies, Gender Studies, trans-epistemologies, Christine Jorgensen's autobiography, 'proper' objects, transgender, transsexuals.


Natacha Kennedy and Mark Hellen
Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge
GJSS 2010 7:2. 25-43. [PDF]

Abstract: This research suggests that the majority of transgender people become aware of their gender identities at a very early age. As such many transgender children go through most, if not all, of their time in compulsory education knowing their gender identity is different from that expected of them. Transgender children are characterised as “apparent” and “non-apparent”, with the vast majority being “non-apparent”. It is argued that their concealment and suppression of identity for such a long period can lead to problems.

This paper examines this evidence and goes on to examine the implications of this from the point of view of children’s abilities to rationalise and understand their own situations and make sense of the conflicting pressures on them to conform to gender normative behaviour and to expectations of gender which they are ultimately unable to do. As such they may spend many years of their lives unnecessarily having to deal with feelings of guilt and shame. The consequences of this are likely to be substantial underachievement in all areas of their lives.

transgender, children, self-esteem, epiphanies, school, exclusion, diversity.



Anthony Clair Wagner
On Elves and Beasts: an intervention into normative imaginaries
GJSS 2010 7:2. 44-56. [PDF] 

Abstract: The Elf and the Beast are my artisitc alter egos which I employ in order to make visible certain aspects of, and reflections on, my trans-experience and –identity by means of video, photography and performance.

I began developing these non-human identities in my art while living isolated in the rural Austrian countryside. Only later on, when I learned about the many fields of existing transgender discourse, did I start to realize how my figurations eerily reflect certain aspects of Donna Haraway´s work (e.g. ‘Promises of Monsters’), and Susan Stryker´s use of Frankenstein´s Monster as her voice.

In my paper I talk about how adopting non-human somatechnics and embodying the resulting creatures allows me to distance myself from the restrictions of our social understanding of what the human is. Further I speak about how it allows me to contemplate my situation in reference to the binary gender system and a range of somatechnics that are outside the performability of my transidentity. I also discuss the use of non-human somatechnics as opening up options of accessing and expressing transpower: the power that inhabits transgressions of physical, mental, and other ensuing restrictions.

My alter egos might entice us into practicing joyful resistances against categorizations within the cultural norms linked to gender, sex and sexuality.

Queer; Transgender; Art; Monster; Beast; Elf; Human.


Jules Tamas Fuetty
Challenges posed by transgender - passing within ambiguities and interrelations
GJSS 2010 7:2. 57-75. [PDF] 

Abstract: This article critically interrogates current academic knowledge productions on transgender exemplified by figurations of passing. Following a deconstructivist approach, I challenge normalizations and silenced differences within dominant conceptionalizations of passing related to transgender. By investigating interconnected positionings of transgender within power relations, I will argue in favor of intersectional approaches to transgender. Regarding interrelations of
knowledge productions and power relations, I will end by suggesting politics of articulation as means for epistemological-political-transformations referring to transgender.

transgender, passing, intersectionality, normalizations, politics of articulation.


Ute Kalender
Subtle pressures, coercive sterilizations and denials of access: A trans-crip approach to reproductive subjectivation
GJSS 2010 7:2. 76-94. [PDF]

Abstract: This paper discusses the topics of reproductive subjectivation and new reproductive technologies from a trans-crip perspective. Part one discusses this using the example of the dominant reproductive settings in Germany with which people termed transsexual and disabled are currently confronted; here, analogies, differences and contradictions will be outlined. In the second part I contemplate an intersectional perspective – presenting a critical discussion of notions of the reproductive subject in transgender/queer approaches as well as in contributions coming from disability studies.

Trans-Crip, Reproduction, Reproductive Subjectivities and Technologies, Neo-Eugenics.


Erika Alm
Contextualising Intersex: Ethical discourses on Intersex in Sweden and the US
GJSS 2010 7:2. 95-112. [PDF] 

Abstract: As of the beginning of the 1990s the medical management of intersex has been up for debate, and the U.S. has been the epicentre of debate. Scholars like Iain Morland and Anne Fausto-Sterling have identified three key actors in the U.S. context: clinicians, patient oriented support groups and intersex advocacy organizations, and feminist scholars with a critical perspective on the medical discourse surrounding sex and gender identity (Fausto-Sterling 2000; Morland 2004). There has been fairly little discussion about intersex rights in Sweden until the last couple of years. The budding Swedish discussions are all framed by international discourses, especially the U.S. discussions among clinicians on the pros and cons of the traditional treatment model, and the discussions between intersex people, intersex advocates, clinicians and politicians on intersex rights. However, while the U.S. discourses on intersex have been greatly affected by the participation of feminist scholars such influences have been scarce in Sweden. This article explores differences and similarities between the Swedish and the U.S. context, arguing that the relative lack of feminist scholarly attention to intersex has had consequences for the Swedish discussion.

intersex, Sweden, U.S., feminist theory, DSD, ISNA, INIS, medical management of intersex.


Tobias Raun
Screen-births: Exploring the transformative potential in trans video blogs on YouTube
GJSS 2010 7:2. 113-130. [PDF] 

Abstract: The article takes its point of departure in Tobias Raun’s PhD research, exploring the numerous amounts of video blogs (vlogs) on YouTube where trans people (using hormones and/or surgery to alter their body) document and discuss their gender transition. The article offers a characterisation of the vlog medium as it is being put to use by the trans people, arguing that the vlog operates as both a diary, an autobiography, and as a vehicle of communication and social connection. Furthermore, Tobias Raun raises questions like: What kind of possibilities do a new media like vlogs enable in connection to represent and negotiate the meaning of trans identity? Can the trans vlogs enable a sense of empowerment and help create political visibility and political action?

Transgender Studies, Transsexuality, Video Blogs, Internet Research, Participatory Culture, Self-Representation, Autobiography.


To be on Song: Nora Koller reviews “You’ve Changed”: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity, ed. Laurie J. Shrage
GJSS 2010 7:2. 131-135. [PDF] 


Leslie Sherlock reviews Two Truths and a Lie, by Scott Turner Schofield
GJSS 2010 7:2. 136-140. [PDF] 


Natasha Curson reviews Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender, ed. Sally Hines and Tam Sanger
GJSS 2010 7:2. 141-145. [PDF]


‘Forthcoming’ Research in Trans Studies: On Assuming Trans- and Inter-Disciplinary Research Methods: Eliza Steinbock reviews Assuming a Body: Transgender and the Rhetorics of Materiality by Gayle Salamon
GJSS 2010 7:2. 146-150. [PDF]

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