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My Gender is Black?: The Speculative Refusals of Black Queer/Trans/Feminism

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A Conversation between Tavia Nyong’o and Susan Stryker

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Presented by Mills College Trans Studies Speaker Series

This event is free and open to the public.

Registration required. Broadcast link will be provided on the day of the event.

Contemporary Black art, thought, and activism is infused with feminism, queerness and transness like never before. But this dissidence is also frequently lived through modalities that reject white normative frameworks of sex and gender, declaring, with non-binary writer Hari Ziyad, that “My Gender is Black.” What recent history has set the stage for this particular conjuncture? How have queer/trans/feminist refusals drawn from and contributed to critical theories of antiblackness? In particular, how have these refusals modulated afropessimist and afrofuturist tendencies? Refusal and reticence, this talk argues, has shaped Black responses to the ongoing destruction and devaluation of Black life even in a period of growing homo- and trans-normativity. Black queer/trans/feminist refusals must dynamically negotiate despair on the one hand, and, on the other, forms of political engagement that risks reproducing an antiblack world. Black aesthetics, the talk concludes, has become an increasingly important site for staging this tension, if not fully resolving it. Rather than representation in liberal humanist terms, art affords non-binary blackness possibilities of opacity, abstraction, speculation, and collectivity.

The Mills College Trans Studies Speakers Series (MCTSSS), hosted by Emmy-Award winner Susan Stryker, Barbara Lee Distinguished Visiting Professor in Women's Leadership, offers a regular public forum for exploring transgender issues with some of today's leading thinkers, artists, and activists.

More information: Mills College Trans Studies Speaker Series

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