An argument for bringing transgender studies into women's studies departments and an exploration of the impact of trans issues in various aspects of higher education

Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies

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edited by Anne (now Finn) Enke

Lambda Literary Award for Best Book in Transgender Nonfiction, 2013

"Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies is a very worthwhile book. Enke is knowledgeable about the field, and frames the issues nicely, explicitly addressing some of the core problems in feminism and women’s studies. This anthology shrewdly demonstrates how transgender studies can do feminist work, and it goes a long way toward furthering that important critical/political task."
Susan Stryker, Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at the University of Arizona, and author of Transgender History

If feminist studies and transgender studies are so intimately connected, why are they not more deeply integrated? Offering multidisciplinary models for this assimilation, the vibrant essays in Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies suggest timely and necessary changes for institutions of higher learning.

Responding to the more visible presence of transgender persons as well as gender theories, the contributing essayists focus on how gender is practiced in academia, health care, social services, and even national border patrols. Working from the premise that transgender is both material and cultural, the contributors address such aspects of the university as administration, sports, curriculum, pedagogy, and the appropriate location for transgender studies.

Combining feminist theory, transgender studies, and activism centered on social diversity and justice, these essays examine how institutions as lived contexts shape everyday life.



Read the Introduction (pdf).



"Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies, is a smart, well-written, and appealing book. Enke has defined, explained, and situated the concept of ‘transfeminism’ vis-à-vis the study of gender. Enke's book is truly multi-disciplinary and the essays address the challenges that trans students, researchers of transgender subjects, and teachers of trans/feminist theory and activism face. This will be an important book."
Paisley Currah, Professor of Political Science at the Brooklyn College of New York, and co-editor (with Richard Juang and Shannon Minter) of Transgender Rights

"Enke’s book is crucial to teaching how gender identity and trans issues have shifted and will continue to push gender studies. There is no other collection on transgender theory and action that has this level of detail and focus on higher education and gender studies-related disciplinary concerns. Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies, examines how institutions as lived contexts shape everyday life and thus the context for thinking, learning and researching trans issues. Enke’s introductory essay is superb, and the collection's interdisciplinary range is comprehensive—it covers key topics in gender studies, and it provides theoretical and experiential critiques of the field of gender studies as well. This is an indispensable volume."
Cris Mayo, Associate Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and author of Disputing the Subject of Sex: Sexuality and Public School Controversies

"Enke brings together scholarship from a variety of disciplines (e.g., English, economics, law, and sociology) that integrates feminist studies and transgender studies. The volume pushes the conversation about how to develop better theoretical, practical, and pedagogical models that advance more collaboration between the two fields.... Thus, this book is useful for those who need an introduction to feminist and trans theories but can benefit those readers already deeply entrenched in these debates and politics. The inclusion of some unfamiliar trans lexicons after the introduction and before the beginning of the chapters provides unique insights into the significance of addressing linguistic practices as part of social and political practice. The combination of analytical essays and personal reflections provides the platform for greater discussion among scholars and activists in the ongoing struggle against feminist, queer, and trans marginalization and violence. Summing Up: Highly recommended."

"The twelve essays in this volume...address a diversity of academic topics and styles ranging from controversial theory to more pedestrian policy advice. All focus on the radical potential of transgender analysis, rather than seeking to recuperate 'transgender' as an individual identity...[T]his book will be a valuable resource in the university library."
Women's Review of Books

"The collection does an excellent job bringing together multidisciplinary works from academics, educators, and activists to make the case for integration of feminist studies and transgender studies, and to highlight the relevance of transgender analysis for everyone. The diversity of topics, points of view, and writing styles can be seen it functions to keep the reader engaged in the process of making connections. This volume will appeal to a great variety of readers interested in social justice, diversity, gender, and the far-reaching potential of trans analysis, including upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students, faculty, staff, and community members."
Gender & Society

"[D]iverse and innovative... [this] collection offer[s] something for academics and activists who are interested in trans, feminist, or queer approaches, or all of the above, from interdisciplinary social science and humanities perspectives."
Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society

"[A] timely and energetically collaborative work.... a rich, diverse collection of twelve essays that consider transfeminism in the Academy and beyond.... [T]his is a volume that presents many voices to underscore the fact that there are many voices demanding to be heard."
WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly

"Taken individually, each chapter is informative and some are also provocative. Taken as a whole, the volume represents a substantive contribution to the literature on trans theory and practice in higher education and social policy.... There are three primary strengths of this text: the thoughtful navigation of highly contested language, the range of topics covered, and the connections to allied social/academic movements. The nuanced navigation of language that Enke provides is thoughtful and necessarily cautious.... This book has a wide range of audiences within and beyond transgender and gender studies classrooms.... The approachable, accessible writing style of the authors also makes this book useful to many outside of academia as well."
Teachers College Record

"The intersections and disjunctures between gender/feminist studies and transgender studies have remained under-theorized and underexplored for a considerable time. This impressively comprehensive collection works to close a good part of that persistent gap and, in so doing, partially mends a fissure while usefully providing models for future work.... The result is a valuable collection that makes important contributions to both transgender studies and gender studies while arguing successfully for the recognition and fostering of the links between them."
Feminist Formations



Introduction: Transfeminist Perspectives • A. Finn Enke
Note on Terms and Concepts • A. Finn Enke

PART I “This Much Knowledge”: Flexible Epistemologies
1. Gender/Sovereignty • Vic Muñoz
2. “Do These Earrings Make Me Look Dumb?” Diversity, Privilege, and Heteronormative Perceptions of Competence within the Academy • Kate Forbes
3. Trans. Panic. Some Thoughts toward a Theory of Feminist Fundamentalism • Bobby Noble
4. The Education of Little Cis: Cisgender and the Discipline of Opposing Bodies • A. Finn Enke

PART II Categorical Insufficiencies and “Impossible People”
5. College Transitions: Recommended Policies for Trans Students and Employees • Clark A. Pomerleau
6. “Ain’t I a Woman?” Transgender and Intersex Student Athletes in Women’s Collegiate Sports • Pat Griffin
7. Training Disservice: The Productive Potential and Structural Limitations of Health as a Terrain for Trans Activism • Christoph Hanssmann
8. Transnational Transgender Rights and Immigration Law • Aren Z. Aizura

PART III Valuing Subjects: Toward Unexpected Alliances
9. Elusive Subjects: Notes on the Relationship between Critical Political Economy and Trans Studies • Dan Irving
10. Reclaiming Femininity • Julia Serano
11. What’s Wrong with Trans Rights? • Dean Spade
12. When Something Is Not Right • Ryka Aoki



About the Author(s)

Anne Enke (now Finn Enke) is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, History, and LGBT Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Subject Categories

Gender Studies
Women's Studies



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