Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Transpedagogies: A Roundtable Dialogue

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Transpedagogies: A Roundtable Dialogue

Article excerpt

Anne Enke, Darcy A. Freedman, Ednie Kaeh Garrison, Jeni Hart, Diana L. Jones, Ambrose Kirby, Jamie Lester, Vic Muñoz, Mia Nakamura, Clark A. Pomerleau, Sarah E. VanHooser (Participants)

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE (AGAIN)

The eleven participants in this roundtable submitted their work for consideration to the editors of this issue of WSQ. Rather than include just one essay from authors, the editors wondered how it would work to include a group of authors who had proposed to tackle trans-focused pedagogical issues within women's studies. The editors invited us to moderate this "textual conversation" with the understanding that one of our mandates was to imagine practical ways to produce this more experimental form. To make space for the multiplications and unexpected convergences to pop out of this dialogue, we adopted the term "transpedagogies" as a coalitional concept that includes transsexual, transgender, and gender/queer pedagogical perspectives. While it is imperfect, we are excited by the outcome, as the results reflect a community effort to create a dialogical space that invites further participation.

From our first readings of research-based abstracts, we identified a series of themes through which to frame ideas for how this varied group of participants might be placed in conversation with each other. The themes that emerged were named thus: Feminist Trans-Masculinities/ Femininities; TransCrossings: Cultures and Histories; Transgendering Male Privilege: Transguys in Feminist and Women's Studies; Transdisciplinary Work in the Academy; Making the Body In/Visible in the Classroom; and Transforming Women's Studies. With these themes as a jumping-off point, all the authors and coauthors wrote individual statements grounded in their teaching, scholarship, experiences, and theoretical affiliations. Subsequently, the authors and coauthors provided written shorter responses to two of the statements. And, finally, the authors and coauthors responded briefly to the responses written about their own statements. We compiled everyone's writing and sent the completed piece to all the participants. We then received feedback in the form of questions and suggestions as well as editorial corrections. We took all these and integrated them into the piece.

Our guiding theme has been to engage in a conversation that would spark a wider, more diverse and expansive one among scholars, activists, and educators. We hoped to explore the experiences of transgender, transsexual, and gender/queer students and faculty within specific learning environments, such as women's colleges and doctoral programs, as well as the experiences of those teaching and working with variously trans and queer faculty and students.

Because of space limitations, the published Transpedagogies Roundtable does not include all the original statements and responses, but the complete piece, including all works cited by the participants, is available online at http://www.feministpress.org/wsq/.

DESTABILIZING GENDER IDENTITY

Mia Nokamura

Western transgender discourse presupposes that everyone has gender identity. As a Japanese, I argue that the concept of gender identity needs to be reconfigured to accommodate our gendered reality and that this will provide a vantage point from which to see where transgender studies intersects with interests of feminist as well as liberal-minded students.

The concept of gender identity was introduced in the mid-twentieth century, and it naturally stemmed from the ideology ofthat time. Having examined the contemporary theoretical assumptions that informed the concept initially and looked critically at how it has proliferated in transgender discourse, I have come to believe that gender identity has been nourished indisputably by Western principles of the autonomy of the self (M. Nakamura 2006). In fact, the Japanese did not have a word for identity before the Westernized term was introduced, because there was no indigenous concept of "identity" in the Western sense. …

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