Christina Quarles, Grounded By Tha Side of Yew, 2017 copy

Trans/Queer/Woman: Theory and Politics

« Back to Events
This event has passed.
Trans/Queer/Woman: Theory and Politics
July 24, 2019 6:30 PM
July 24, 2019 9:30 PM
$315 for four-week course (see description)
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
May 15, 2019
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
Google Map
208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
Christina Quarles, Grounded By Tha Side of Yew, 2017 copy


The Bureau is excited to partner with the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research to bring you:

Trans/Queer/Woman: Theory and Politics

Instructor: Sophie Lewis

The course will meet at the Bureau on Wednesdays, July 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM

Transfeminine lives are often seen as having, in and of themselves, political consequences, theoretical limits, and some kind of relation to a ‘beyond’ of gender. While former sports celebrity Caitlyn Jenner has come to stand for the notion that ‘transgender’ is now a “respectable” identity, Olympic gold-star medalist Caster Semenya, despite not being transgender, is now caught up in a fraught and ugly fracas over the question of “what is a woman?” Some debates within both feminist and queer thought ask: How stable is the LGBTQ acronym as a concept? While some strains of feminism seek to exclude trans lives from a definition of womanhood on the grounds of “gender realism,” others explicitly reject any kind of gender naturalization. Similarly, some openly apolitical or conservative ‘queer’ and gay rights discourses question whether trans lives fit within a program of assimilation and advancement, while others claim that a structural transsexuality lies at the center of a politically-charged “gay communism” that unites queer theory with a critique of capitalism. In this context, theorists continue to differ on matters such as: the continued relevance of “queer” as a rubric, the utility of the figure of the “post-transsexual”; and the relation of trans embodiment to normativity, gender nonconformity, and the gender binary. Some have announced (already!) “the end of trans studies.” How can we understand, parse, and adjudicate these conflicting and overlapping questions?

In this course, we will read treatments of these questions by (predominantly) trans and intersex philosophers—as well as works by some trans-hostile ones such as Kathleen Stock—exploring, discussing and weighing a variety of dissenting opinions on trans gender ontology, epistemology, and liberation. What do ‘trans’ and ‘queer’ have to do with (and to) each other as rubrics? What has trans feminism been, and what might it be? What are the consequences of abstracting “trans”? Readings will include texts by Susan Stryker, Emi Koyama, Julia Serano, Jules Joanne Gleeson, Joni Cohen, Mario Mieli, Andrea Long Chu, Vivian K Namaste, Treva Ellison, Jack Halberstam, Jordy Rosenberg, and Marissa Brostoff, among others.

The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division is an independent, all-volunteer queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space hosted by The LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is an organization of young scholars in New York City, founded in November 2011 by a few then-graduate students at Columbia University with a shared interest in pedagogy and genuinely interdisciplinary conversation. We teach classes all over the city, record a regular podcast, run a digital humanities initiative to preserve rare and out-of-print academic texts, and in general work frantically at any given time on a broad range of other academic and para-academic projects. We are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization.

Course Schedule
Wednesday, 6:30-9:30pm
July 10 — July 31, 2019
4 weeks

Registration is required. Please click here.


*Three scholarship spaces are reserved in each course because we realize that not everyone can afford to pay the full fee for our courses. Students who cannot pay the full fee should email us at to learn about our scholarship options. We will not ask questions about your financial situation but we do ask that you use the system in good faith and consider the needs of other students and faculty members.


Image: Christina Quarles, Grounded By Tha Side of Yew, 2017