CFP: TSQ 6.4 “Trans Futures”

Editors: micha cárdenas and Jian Neo Chen

We must write the future, and we must critique the very concept of futurity. Making a claim to trans futures, this TSQ special issue focuses on trans approaches to meanings, times, and embodiments of futurity as they have been created and used in transgender studies, and in trans cultures and political movements. At a moment when imagining trans futures seems particularly urgent in the interplay between fundamentalist and neoliberal forms of cisgender hetero-patriarchal white supremacy, we call for critical discussions of the ways in which trans people have been represented and socially located in relationship to the future through ideological systems and institutional networks (the state, prison network, the military, the police, psych-medical science, mediated culture, the university, civil society, law, art economies, transnational corporations and finance, etc.). We invite critical and creative work that produces and imagines potential trans futures by engaging the multiple materialities and temporalities of trans living. We use the term trans to recognize multiple embodiments, expressions, and identities of gender nonconformity and variance that exceed racially constituted white cisgender/sex, while maintaining links to transgender's resistant repurposing of Western psycho-medical science and to trans*'s broad inclusiveness based on the algorithmic command to "trans everything."

From the location of the issue editors in the US, in this moment of the second year of the Trump presidential administration, who won the presidency despite losing the popular vote by millions of votes, the future of trans people seems to be in question. After increased visibility in 2014 for trans women of color, and the resulting increase in murders in subsequent years, the moves by the current president of the US to roll back trans bathroom protections and military employment opportunities enacted by Obama signals to many an increasing possibility for more danger for trans people in the coming years. As such, the imperative to imagine liberatory futures for trans people feels more urgent. Yet, in doing so, there is a danger of reinscribing trans people as they are commonly figured: as from the future, as new, as a result of recent medical advances, as an experiment. Moving to a transnational frame of trans studies adds necessary depth and complexity to this consideration of futurity.

Decolonial considerations, trans of color and transfeminist critiques point to long histories and material dimensions of gender transgressions. The artwork of Giuseppe Campuzano points to Incan mythologies of gods, stretching back thousands of years, with the ability to change gender at will. In Black on Both Sides, Riley Snorton studies black trans archives to articulate how “race, then, becomes a way of thinking history doubly, or of thinking about the history of historicity, wherein one transitive relation within blackness and transness expresses what Fanon described as ‘the real leap… [of] introducing invention into existence.’” Here Snorton challenges simple conceptions of temporality to gesture towards new future possibilities (2017: 8-9). Still, transgender studies scholars such as Sandy Stone and micha cárdenas have argued that trans phenomena provide important ways of understanding emerging technologies including networked communication, VR/AR and algorithms (2016). In The War of Desire and Technology, Stone sees evidence for the fundamental multiplicity of identity in online forms of communication (1996: 33). In The Transreal, cárdenas argues that artists working with multiple realities can learn from trans artists about crossing realities and creating identities with multiple components (2011: 23). The popular term trans* relies on an algorithmic syntax from the Linux and DOS operating systems to refer to “trans anything”, including transgender, transsexual and more, showing the imbrication of technology and figurations of trans identities. Qwo-Li Driskill has remembered and mobilized a third asegi Cherokee Two-Spirit history and time that disrupts European systems of gender and sexuality, which have been mapped onto Indigenous nations and bodies through cycles of colonization (2017: 39-100). Emi Koyama’s The Transfeminist Manifesto analyzes the material impacts of the cis-heterosexist patriarchal construction of gender and sex on trans women and calls for a transfeminist movement of the future “by and for trans women who view their liberation to be intrinsically linked to the liberation of all women and beyond,” while welcoming “queers, intersex people, trans men, non-trans women, non-trans men and others who are sympathetic toward needs of trans women and consider their alliance with trans women to be essential for their own liberation” (2001: 1-2). 

We call for submissions of essays and creative work that engage the issue’s theme in relationship to emerging areas of transgender studies, especially (but not limited to):

  • Transfeminist and trans women/femme of color futures
  • Trans of color and indigenous futurisms
  • Trans technologies
  • Algorithmic analysis
  • Trans media
  • Trans times and temporalities
  • Trans space
  • Disability
  • Trans materialities
  • Decolonial and racial histories and formations
  • Trans reproduction
  • Necropolitics and biopolitics
  • Trans species
  • Trans embodiments
  • Trans ecologies
  • Youth, coming-of-age, and aging
  • Global and transnational temporalities

We welcome submissions from 1000 to 4000 words in length that engage a wide range of methods, disciplines, lineages, and practices.

Please send complete submissions by October 26, 2018. To submit a manuscript, please visit http://www.editorialmanager.com/tsq. If this is your first time using Editorial Manager, please register first, then proceed with submitting your manuscript. If you have any difficulties with the process, contact the journal at tsqjournal at gmail.com. All manuscripts must be double-spaced, including quotations and endnotes, and blinded throughout. You must also submit an abstract, keywords, and biographical note at the time of initial submission. Please visit the editorial office's website for a detailed style guide. Questions for the editors of this issue may be addressed to micha cárdenas (michamc at uw.edu) and Jian Chen (chen.982 at osu.edu).

TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly is an academic journal, edited by Susan Stryker and Frank Galarte, published by Duke University Press. TSQ aims to be the journal of record for the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies and to promote the widest possible range of perspectives on transgender phenomena broadly defined. Every issue of TSQ will be a specially themed issue that also contains regularly recurring features such as reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces. To learn more about the journal and see calls for papers for other special issues, visit  http://lgbt.arizona.edu/transgender-studies-quarterly.  For information about subscriptions, visit https://www.dukeupress.edu/tsq-transgender-studies-quarterly.