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
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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 as...strengths....as 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."
"[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."
"[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."
"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."
"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."
PART I “This Much Knowledge”: Flexible Epistemologies
PART II Categorical Insufficiencies and “Impossible People”
PART III Valuing Subjects: Toward Unexpected Alliances
Anne Enke (now Finn Enke) is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, History, and LGBT Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.