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"Trans Insurgency, Black Radicality: Abolitionist Endeavors"

THU, MAR 30, 2023, 7:00 PM

This talk will move through the concepts of “trans” and “black” in ways that think them through a sense of the radical. That is, reconfiguring trans and black as more than identity descriptors, as more than something someone unchangeably is, the talk will make the assertion that these terms name in fact modes of insurgency, radicality, and fugitivity. As such, we will end up in abolitionist territory—territory that seeks an overhaul of the ills that define our world, including coloniality, white supremacy, and the gender binary.

Marquis Bey is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English, advisory board faculty member of Critical Theory, and faculty affiliate and advisory board member of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University. Bey is the author of multiple books: Them Goon Rules: Fugitive Essays on Radical Black Feminism (2019), Anarcho-Blackness: Notes Toward a Black Anarchism (2020), and The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Gender (2020).

Bey’s field-defining academic monograph, Black Trans Feminism (2021), theorizes black trans feminism from the vantages of abolition and gender radicality, which are precipitated by an understanding of blackness, transness, and (black) feminism as interested not in selective reform or gender proliferation but in wholesale dismantling of the world we have been given. Via an examination of theoretical discourses in black studies, transgender studies, and feminist theory; the essays, interviews, and poems of Alexis Pauline Gumbs, jayy dodd, Venus Selenite; and what it would mean to live with hope in the world black trans feministically, Bey delivers an unparalleled articulation of radical theorizing and politics.

Bey is also the author of Cistem Failure: Essays on Blackness and Cisgender, a collection of autotheory essays that explores the relationship, or unrelationship, between Blackness and the category of cisgender.

This talk is hosted by the Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies’ Verne Wagner Visiting Scholar Fund, which brings a leading scholar to campus for one to four weeks to engage with graduate and undergraduate students and give a public talk or other activity open to the community.

Additional co-sponsors include the the African and African American Studies Department, the Department of Sociology, the English Department, the CLAS Dean’s Office, the American Studies Department, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Director for the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity. 

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