First Transgender Studies Conference of Its Kind to Take Place at University of Arizona

Over 300 scholars, activists and artists from around the globe are preparing to visit Tucson, Arizona, to share research and ideas in the burgeoning field of transgender studies.

Trans*studies: An International Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender, Embodiment, and Sexuality” is a four-day event hosted by the University of Arizona Institute for LGBT Studies, focused on transgender studies as a field of research involving scholars from many different disciplines.

Trans*Studies 2016 begins on the evening of September 7th and continues through September 10th. Sandy Stone and Mauro Cabral will give keynote talks.

“We are thrilled with the Transgender Studies Initiative and the opportunity it has given us at the Institute to host this conference,” said Adela C. Licona, interim director of the Institute for LGBT Studies and associate professor in the Department of English. “The conference is a unique occasion for transgender studies scholars, artists and activists from around the world to be in conversation and to learn from one another about the pressing issues and vital contributions from this exciting and relatively new field of study, from members of trans* communities, and from those who stand in solidarity with them.”

Eric Plemons, an assistant professor of anthropology and chair of the conference program committee, said the time was right for this conference.

“Transgender topics are being covered in the popular news media – everything from Caitlyn Jenner to the ongoing debate about transgender athletes competing in the Olympics,” said Plemons. “After decades of working in the margins, there is a space now for academics who are focusing on transgender studies.”

Some of the presentation topics include transgender history, approaches to transgender community health, transgender linguistics, and transgender and gender non-conforming characters in literature, art and media.

More than a gathering of professors, Trans*Studies 2016 will also feature the work of transgender artists, writers and film makers. Fluxx Studios, a trans-owned and operated Tucson performance space, will be hosting a poetry reading and conference-end celebration as part of Trans*Studies 2016.

In addition to presentations and performances, the conference schedule includes a very ambitious agenda item: a meeting to discuss establishing an international transgender studies association.

Dani Stuchel, program coordinator for the Transgender Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona says that Trans*Studies 2016 is only part of the University’s involvement in trans* studies as a field. “Through the Transgender Studies Initiative, we’ve been able to launch the first transgender studies journal to accept work from multiple disciplines (Transgender Studies Quarterly), hire faculty who specialize in trans* studies, and provide research support funds.”

Much of the success of the Transgender Studies Initiative can be credited to Susan Stryker, associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona.

“In addition to being a prominent figure in transgender studies, Susan is also deeply involved in making transgender students, staff and faculty a priority at the University – from working with administrators to create gender-neutral restrooms and facilities to planning a transgender studies certificate program,” Stuchel explained. Stryker led a steering committee of over 20 students, staff and instructors at the University who have been organizing the conference for over a year.

Plemons said the UA was the logical place to hold the inaugural conference.

“Susan Stryker has a lot of connections in the trans* community,” said Plemons. “And with the phenomenal support the University of Arizona has shown with the Transgender Studies Initiative and with trying to think big and do bold new things, it makes sense to bring it here.”

Support for the conference has come from many University of Arizona departments, institutes and centers, as well as other universities in the United States and abroad.

Dani Stuchel
(520) 626-1647


Extra Information: The following events during “Trans*studies: An International Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender, Embodiment, and Sexuality” are open to the public:

Trans & Genderqueer Poetry Reading
Friday, Sept. 9, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fluxx Studio & Gallery
690 E 19th Street, Suite 130

Closing Night Party
Saturday, Sept. 10, 8:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Fluxx Studio & Gallery
690 E 19th Street, Suite 130

Published Date: 

08/25/2016 - 10:06am