TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Volume IV, number II, 2017
Special issue: The Issue of Blackness
Guest editors: Treva C. Ellison, Kai M. Green, Matt Richardson, C. Riley Snorton
issue /ˈiSHo͞o/: the action of supplying or distributing an item for use, sale, or official purposes; to come, go, or flow out from.
This special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, titled “The Issue of Blackness,” explores and questions the issuance of Blackness to transgender identity, politics, and transgender studies and proceeds from the premise that the position of Blackness in relation to the project of universality is both overseen and unknown. Black scholars like Saidiya Hartman have argued that Blackness functions as a fungible site of accumulation in relation to the projects of knowing, representation, and self-craft. Blackness is overseen in the sense that the literal and figurative capture of Blackness is a source of value for social and political subjectification and a mechanism of valorization for institutions and institutionalized knowledge. However, the phenomenology of Black life and Black peoples’ multiple lived experiences are routinely disavowed via the same circuits and institutions of power, knowledge production, and politics that make claims on and about Blackness. Additionally, as scholars like Denise Ferriera da Silva, Clyde Woods, Katherine McKittrick, and George Lipsitz have written, the hegemonic socio-spatial relationships and imaginaries that constitute life as we know it (including academic disciplinarity) often render Black people and a Black sense of place as perpetually out of place, un-geographic, and unknown. We are interested in how this dual operation of Blackness across space and time: overseen and unknown, functions in relation to constructions and articulations of transgender identity, transgender politics, and the field of Transgender Studies.
As a growing field of inquiry, transgender studies provides a fertile ground to analyze the instability, variation, and re-construction of gender and gender normativity across space and time. In this special issue, we are interested in thinking about how an attention to Blackness, Black people, and Black Studies opens up trans as an analytic and puts pressure on gender as a stable social category. We hope that this issue contributes to ongoing thought and action that deploys trans as a heuristic that is attentive to transgender embodiment, but that diverges from normalizing tendencies of subjectification.
We seek essays, poems, and artwork that contend with how and where transgender and Black meet, contradict, and interface as social and political categories of difference, sites of scholarly inquiry, and categories of political praxis. We are interested in hearing from a broad spectrum of scholars, artists, thinkers and organizers who consider Blackness as it circulates diasporically. We wish to engage across many fields of study such as, but not limited to, cultural studies, ethnic studies, American studies, English, history, geography, anthropology, and sociology. We seek to publish numerous shorter pieces (1000-2500 words) to represent the diversity of practices and problematics, and welcome original research articles as well as theory, reports, manifestos, opinion pieces, reviews, interviews, and creative/artistic productions rooted in the themes and goals of the issue. While the language of publication will be English, we accept submissions in any language and will work with authors to translate submitted work. Below are some questions to consider, but we are open to others:
- How has Blackness been a source of value and a site of valorization for transgender politics and identity?
- How has transgender studies theorized or contended with Blackness?
- What do theories of Blackness and anti-Blackness offer to the field of transgender studies and to transgender political praxis?
- What political, material, and intellectual conditions give rise to Black trans* futures?
- How do Blackness and the experiences of Black people throughout the African diaspora recast or redefine trans studies, in matters of history, theory, politics, and culture?
- How does a trans* as a heuristic and / or mode of analysis align with, or conflict with Black feminism’s challenge to normative constructions of womanhood?
- How do theories of Blackness as well as Black people’s lived experience help us locate the relationship between the trans* transgender and the trans* in transnational?
- Through what means and in which contexts do Black and transgender get rendered as oppositional categories?
- How has the law been a medium through which the relationship between Blackness and transgender identity and politics been posited, worked out and / or contested?
- How do the lived experiences, activism, intellectual work, and expressive knowledge of Black transgender and gender non-conforming people put pressure on dominant articulations of trans identity, trans politics and notions of coalition and solidarity?
- How do theoretical insights grounded in Blackness, such as Fred Moten’s notion of the break or Hortense Spillers’ conception of the body versus the flesh, help us to understand the polyvalent senses of trans?
- How have technological developments in media been employed to posit relationships between Black and trans? How has the category of “the human” been examined in studies of animality, Blackness and trans--ness?
- How do discussions of temporality work in transgender studies and Black studies? Is there a trans sense of time? Does it collide, conflict contradict or support a Black sense of time?
Please send complete submissions by June 1, 2016. (Note that we cannot accept submissions earlier than January 15, 2016.) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Treva C. Ellison (email@example.com), Kai M. Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), Matt Richardson (email@example.com), and C. Riley Snorton (firstname.lastname@example.org).
TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly is a new journal, edited by Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker 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 our site. For information about subscriptions, visit http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=45648.