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Jules Gill-Peterson (She/Her), University of Pittsburgh
A Vernacular Science of Gender: Trans History After Transsexuality
This talk explores how transgender studies has come to idealize a separation between medical-science and the social field of lived experience in its objects of study. Observing that this tendency rests on a series of premises about history and historical sequence, the talk explores a remarkable vernacular archive of do-it-yourself transition practices from the early 1950s that aimed to critique and rival the project of institutional trans medicalization at its precise moment of emergence. This previously unexamined archive questions the very terms of the field’s foundational desire for an arrival at an idealized “after” transsexuality and medical science.