Emma Heaney talks about the social organization of the supposedly biologically derived terms of the sex binary into a hierarchy of persons and qualities. She speaks widely about the work that she and her colleagues are doing, drawing on a tradition of scholarship that includes the work of Luce Irigaray, Hortense Spillers, Cathy J. Cohen and others.
Emma Heaney is a teacher, researcher, and writer living in Queens. Her first book, a study of the
medicalization of trans femininity and the uptake of the diagnostic figure in works of twentieth-
century literature and philosophy, is The New Woman: Literary Modernism, Queer Theory, and
the Trans Feminine Allegory (Northwestern, 2017). Her forthcoming second book, Feminism
Against Cisness, is an edited collection of essays by Trans Studies scholars who use anti-colonial,
Black, and Marxist feminist methods to address the many legacies of the historical emergence of
the idea that assigned sex determines sexed experience. Her introduction for that collection,
entitled “Sexual Difference Without Cisness” provides the basis for this interview.
Image: © 2021 Saronik Bosu
Music used in promotional material: “Flow” by dustmotes