Marquis Bey talks about the radical and abolitionist project of Black Trans Feminism. Rather than an identity formation, it is a politics and modality of being that vitiates the limits of subjectivity. Black Trans Feminism finds joy in irreverence, just like we try to do on High Theory.
You can recalibrate your understanding of the subject by reading Marquis’s forthcoming book Black Trans Feminism, published by Duke University Press. Released next week! On February 25th.
In the episode Marquis references a wonderful quote from Saidiya Hartman, that “A Black revolution makes everyone freer than they actually want to be.” It’s a hard quote to find, but it appears in Frank Wilderson’s interview with C.S. Soong, “Blacks and the Master/Slave Relation” in Afropessimism: An Introduction (Racked & Dispatched, 2017).
Marquis is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English at Northwestern University. They also serve as Faculty Affiliate and Advisory Board Member in Gender & Sexuality Studies and Advisory Board Faculty Member in Critical Theory.
This week’s image was provided by Marquis.
Music used in promotional material: ‘Semiacoustic’ by Pk Jazz Collective
Sandeep Bakshi (@sandeepbak on Twitter) talks to Saronik about understanding queerness and its emancipatory politics through transnational solidarity building, the persistent inclusion of trans and queer epistemological frames in social justice movements, especially in the work done by the Decolonizing Sexualities Network. Sandeep explains this concept and the DSN’s objective by referring to the works of Maria Lugones, Sylvia Tamale and the Fallist movement, and Karma Chávez and Against Equality.
Sandeep Bakshi researches on transnational queer and decolonial enunciation of knowledges. He received his PhD from the School of English, University of Leicester, UK, and is currently employed as an Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Queer Literatures at the University of Paris. He heads the “Gender and Sexuality Studies” research group and coordinates two research seminars, “Peripheral Knowledges” and “Empires, Souths, Sexualities,”. Co-editor of Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions (Oxford: Counterpress, 2016) and Decolonial Trajectories, special issue of Interventions (2020), he has published on queer and race problematics in postcolonial literatures and cultures. He is the founder and serves on the board of the Decolonizing Sexualities Network.
Image: Cover of the book Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions
Music used in promotional material: “Hear Me Out” by Ketsa
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