Conference programme and speakers’ bio notes!

At long last, here are the details of our sessions and the info about our speakers. It’s bound to be an exciting (if intense) day, but we look forward to the productive discussions that will take place and by all the learning involved!

Conference programme
09:00-09:30 Registration (University of Roehampton) and coffee
09:30-09:45 Opening address
09:45-10:45 KEYNOTE 
UIrika Dahl – Is queer kinship always already chosen? Notes on desire, difference and difficulties among genderqueer kinmakers in (homo)nationalist times
10:45-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:30 SPACES
Erzsébet Barát – Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism in Hungary
Sarah Newport – Solidarity & Self-Identification: The Gender Recognition Act (UK) and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill (India)
Mijke van der Drift – Security, Precarity, and Transfeminist visibility
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:00 CULTURE
Libe García Zarranz  – Staying with the Trouble: Response-able Ethics in Trans Writing and Visual Art
14:00-15:00 IDENTITY 1 
Finn Mackay – Border-wars in the Borderlands
Antonia Navarro Tejero – TERFs and Trans: the Feminist Battleground that Benefits Patriarchy
15:00-15:15 Coffee break
15:15-16:15 IDENTITY 2
Cheryl Morgan – Who gets to be a Feminist?
Hannah Shimwell – Has Inclusive Feminism Been Extended Too Far?
16:15-16:30 Coffee break
16:30-17:15 Round table about potential publication
17:15-17:30 Closing remarks
18:00- — Conference drinks and dinner (optional)      
Conference organised by Alberto Fernandez-Carbajal (English and Creative Writing Department, UoRoehampton) and supported and funded by Bodies in Transit 2 project, FFI2017-84555-C2-1-P. The organisers wish to acknowledge the funding provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Spanish Research Agency for this conference.
Speakers’ biographical notes (in alphabetical order)
Barát, Erzsébet      Associate Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies (Institute of English and American Studies, University of Szeged, Hungary) and at the Gender Studies Department, (Central European University, Budapest); Director of Gender studies in the English Studies MA at Szeged; Founding Editor-in-Chief of TNTeF: Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. Expertise in critical studies of discourse, language ideologies, hate speech, social theory of meaning, and the intersection of feminist and queer theory, with an interest in non-exclusionary relational identity models.
Dahl, Ulrika      Queer fem(me)inist writer, cultural anthropologist and professor of gender studies (Uppsala University, Sweden); research interests in feminist and queer politics, decolonial pedagogies, femininity, affect, and queer kinship and reproduction, building on feminist science studies, somatechnics, postcolonial and critical race theory; author, with Del LaGrace Volcano, of Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities and, with Ulla Manns and Marianne Liljieström, of The Geopolitics of Nordic and Russian Gender Research 1975-2005; editor of lambda nordica-Nordic journal of LGBT studies and associate editor of European Journal of Women’s Studies; published in Feminist Theory, Sexualities, New Formations, Paragraph, Somatechnics, and European Journal of Women’s Studies; principal investigator of ‘Queer(y)ing kinship in the Baltic Region’ (Baltic Sea Foundation funding), focusing on contemporary LGBTQ family and reproduction in Sweden; editor of special issues on queer kinship studies 
Drift, Mijke van der      Tutor at Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and Research Associate at the University of Cambridge; work on Nonnnormative Ethics engaging with the question of emergent ethics outside of dominating norms; filmmaker of A Way of Dying… in collaboration with Alex Reuter and of Together with Nat Raha and Chryssy Hunter; international work on Radical Transfeminism
García Zarranz, Libe      Associate Professor in English (Department of Teacher Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology); author of TransCanadian Feminist Fictions: New Cross-Border Ethics, co-edited special issue ‘Affecting Feminist Literary & Cultural Production’ for Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice, and article“Feeling Sideways: Shani Mootoo and Kai Cheng Thom’s Sustainable Affects” for the forthcoming University of Toronto Quarterly;currently working on a second monograph tentatively titled Sustain-able Trans/national Literacies: Ethics, Affect, Pedagogy
Mackay, Finn      Senior Lecturer in Sociology (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); expertise in contemporary British feminism and feminist activism; interested in changes in the movement from the Second Wave of the 1970s and 1980s to the present day; founder of the London Feminist Network and reviver of London Reclaim the Night in 2004; professional background in education and youth work, with focus on domestic violence prevention and anti-bullying; involvement in the women’s sector, conducting work and research for organisations such as Women’s Aid; other research interests include animal rights, lesbian and gay studies and gender identity, definitions, expressions and borders in the LGBTQI+ community 
Morgan, Cheryl      Independent scholar who specialises in trans history, and trans people in speculative fiction; regular speaker at academic conferences, most recently as a keynote for Worlding SF at the University of Graz in December 2019, and at LGBT+ Classics: Teaching, Research, Activism at the University of Reading in February 2019; lecture on 12 June University of Cologne entitled: ‘Gender in Art/Gendered Art’
Navarro-Tejero, Antonia      PhD in English, lecturing experience in the USA, India and Spain; teacher of Cultural Studies and South Asian Literature at Universidad de Córdoba (Spain); chair of the Permanent Seminar on India Studies; 2004-2005 Fulbright scholar at University of California, Berkeley; research interests in Transnational Gender Studies and Postcolonial Feminist Theory and Criticism with emphasis on India and its diaspora; India Studies Series Editor for Cambridge Scholars Publishing; author of Globalizing Dissent: Essays on Arundhati Roy,Gender and Caste in the Anglophone-Indian Novels of Arundhati Roy and Githa Hariharan: Feminist Issues in Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Talks on Feminism: Indian Women Activists Speak for Themselves (Sarup and Sons, 2008); international conference presentations on subalternity; Founder-President of the Spanish Association for Interdisciplinary India Studies; leader of the work package Embodiments in the research project Bodies in Transit II: Genders,Mobilities, Interdependencies
Newport, Sarah      PhD thesis entitled ‘Writing Otherness: Uses of History and Mythology in Constructing Literary Representations of India’s Hijras’ at the University of Manchester in mid-2018; currently Research Assistant and Festival Coordinator for the Postcolonial Studies Centre at Nottingham Trent University
Shimwell, Hannah      Postgraduate MA student in Gender Studies at the University of Chester, supervised by Professor Emma Rees; research largely focuses on fourth wave feminism and trans studies 

A few words about Bodies in Transit II

Our conference is sponsored by the research project Bodies in Transit II (ref. FFI2017-84555-C2-1-P), which is funded in turn by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Spanish Research Agency.

This is a quote from their website:

The coordinated project Bodies in Transit 2 consolidates the work started in the former coordinated project (2014-17) aimed at developing methods and practices of analysis of the body in contemporary cultures. Within that general field, we specifically address how bodies have been historically transformed through social relations, discourses, and technologies, and to that end, we draw from feminist, queer, postcolonial and posthumanist theories of the embodied self. The project assembles a strong team of scholars from Spanish universities and foreign institutions of higher learning (thirteen in Europe and three in North America) and has raised considerable support from international External Observers.”

The project director, Pilar Cuder Domínguez, will be attending the conference and chairing one of the sessions. Pilar is Professor at the University of Huelva (Spain), where she teaches British and English-Canadian Literature and Feminist Theory. Her research interests are the intersections of gender, genre, nation, and race.

Thinking Beyond: Transversal Transfeminisms is part of the ‘Embodiments’ subsection of the research project, led by Antonia Navarro Tejero, who will be giving a paper at the conference. (You can see her bio note right underneath the programme.)

This is the Embodiments mission:

“This work cluster will look into embodiments, attempting to trace the multiple representations of lived experience and (dis)embodied perception and knowledge, with special emphasis on gender fluidity and gender transformations as well as their social construction, thinking of the body not as a given (being) but as immersed in continuous processes (becoming).”

We are very fortunate in having Pilar and Antonia as part of our Conference Advisory Board and are very grateful for having the financial and general support of such a prestigious international research project.

For the project’s website, please visit: http://bodiesintransitproject.com

Conference Access

In this post you will find access information for the conference.

Our conference venue is accessible to wheelchairs and has no steps or bumps in the main entrance. The conference room is also fully wheelchair accessible, without any steps or bumps, and is all on one level.

There is a single-stall accessible toilet available, which doubles as a gender-neutral toilet and has gender-neutral signage. There are gendered toilets labelled for men and women the conference building and are down a set of five steps. We are currently unsure of whether Roehampton staff will be able to make them gender-neutral for the conference and will keep this post updated.

Lunch and refreshments will be held in the Terrace Room in the same building. The Terrace Room can be accessed by a large step from inside, or via ramp from the outside. There is an outside path from the main entrance of Grove House around the corner to the Terrace Building, where a ramp is available.

Currently we have not planned to have a British Sign Language interpreter present, but if you would like to attend and require an interpreter please email julia.noyce@roehampton.ac.uk who is organising conference logistics.

Guide dogs and carers are welcome at the conference.

As the conference is not during term time, the campus will be a quiet and calm space. There is a lake and gardens you are free to explore if you find the conference overwhelming or need a break, as well as the foyer space.

If you have any further questions about access, please email julia.noyce@roehampton.ac.uk.

Speakers Announced

In addition to our keynote from Dr Ulrika Dahl and a round table dedicated to discussing potential avenues of publication, we are pleased to welcome the following speakers:

Erzsébet Barát: Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism in Hungary

Mijke van der Drift: Security, Precarity, and Transfeminist Visibility

Libe Garcia-Zarranz: Sustain-able Pedagogies in Contemporary Queer and Trans Picturebooks

Anna Kerchy: Building Bridges between Disability-, Feminist-, and Trans-studies: Transactivist Transmediations of Freakery in Contemporary Arts

Finn Mackay: Border-wars in the Borderlands

Cheryl Morgan: Who gets to be a Feminist?

Antonia Navarro Tejero: TERFs and Trans: the Feminist Battleground that
Benefits Patriarchy

Sarah Newport: Solidarity and Self-Identification: The Gender Recognition Act (UK) and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill (India)

Cathryn Rogers: Cis-privilege and biopolitics: Transing the UK Asylum system

Hannah Shimwell: Has inclusive feminism been extended too far?

Tickets are available via https://estore.roehampton.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/conferences/transversal/thinking-beyond-transversal-transfeminisms

Conference chair profile: Alberto Fernández Carbajal

Hi everyone! I’m the Conference Chair of Thinking Beyond: Transversal Transfeminisms. The combination of our personal trajectories and our professional positionalities is important to how we think and how do our scholarship, so I thought I’d introduce myself and some of the ideas that have fed into the organisation of our conference.

I was born and grew up in Oviedo, the capital city of the Principality of Asturias, an autonomous province in North-Western Spain famous for its coal mining, its bagpipes, and its fabada (i.e., a very heavy bean stew containing pork in all its various incarnations…). I’ve been living in the UK for most of the present century. I studied English Philology (a combination of English language, literature, and cultural studies) at the University of Oviedo (Spain). Taking my ERASMUS year (the EU’s version of the Year Abroad scheme) in 2003-2004 at the University of Leeds (UK) made me fall in love with postcolonial studies, while remaining interested in the authors I came to love in my teens, such as E. M. Forster. Postcolonial studies cemented my interest in issues of social justice in literature and culture, as well as my disposition to think across normative societal and scholarly barriers.

I became the typical case of the ERASMUS student who never went back… I spent an extra year at Leeds studying courses that would add to my credits in Spain and then went on to take an MA in Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies and a PhD in English Literature, both at the University of Leeds, where I worked under the excellent supervision of John McLeod. My PhD thesis explored Forster’s legacies in the fiction of Paul Scott, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, J. G. Farrell, Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, and Zadie Smith. After leaving the University of Leeds in 2011, where I taught a variety of courses on postcolonialism, Modernism, mid-twentieth century literature and culture, and American literature and culture, I taught for a while at the Universities of Edge Hill and York St John, while preparing my thesis for publication; this was eventually published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014 with the title of Compromise and Resistance in Postcolonial Writing: E. M. Forster’s Legacy, with a new chapter, born in part out of my discussion with my PhD examiners, on the work of Nadine Gordimer and Michael Ondaatje.

While preparing my monograph for publication in the summer of 2013, I almost fortuitously discovered the fiction of Moroccan writer and filmmaker Abdellah Taïa, the author of Salvation Army (which became a film written and directed by Taïa himself) and An Arab Melancholia, both autofictional works concerned with being a gay Muslim in both Morocco and Europe. My work on Forster and postcolonial fiction had already kindled by interest in Muslims and homoeroticism, although not necessarily put together. Taïa’s work was a definite revulsive in my thinking about queerness and Islam. During my stint at the University of Leicester, where I was a Teaching Fellow in Postcolonial Literature, my colleague and mentor Corinne Fowler helped me with my successful application for a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. Corinne became my mentor for the project Queer Diasporas: Islam, Homosexuality, and a Micropolitics of Dissent (ECF-2014-067), which explored non-normative sexual orientations, Islam, and migration, in the literature and film of Hanif Kureishi, Ferzan Özpetek, Ian Iqbal Rashid, Shamim Sarif, Sally El Hosaini, Rolla Selbak, Abdellah Taïa, Rabih Alameddine, and Randa Jarrar. This study will be published by Manchester University Press later this year with the title of Queer Muslim Diasporas in Contemporary Literature and Film. In my work, I argue how necessary it is that we think about queer Muslims intersectionally; that we champion their Muslim identities and their queerness simultaneously, without falling into the traps of homonationalism or Islamophobia. I revised and finished my book during my first year in my current job as Lecturer in English Literature and the University of Roehampton. When I was waiting for hear back from the Leverhulme Trust, I became the Postgraduate and Early Career Representative for the Postcolonial Studies Association (UK). Since then, I have been elected its Vice-Chair.

Due to the fact I only had 3 years to carry out such an ambitious project on queer Muslims, I ended up being confined to an understanding of queerness on the lines of sexual orientation and, sometimes, gender presentation, and paired only with migration, without being able to consider indigenous national perspectives. Chairing an event at the British Library on contemporary queer Arab writing, I was introduced to the work of Jordanian playwright Amahl Khouri, especially their hilarious play She He Me. Amahl’s work opened my eyes to issues of Arab and Muslim trans and non-binary gender identities and how their national and diasporic creative production as queer people of colour and faith still needs to be broached academically from the perspective of literary and cultural studies. I’m currently putting together a project on these very lines, organised around the concept of transversality, but more on this soon…

Living in the Calder Valley, in Yorkshire, in the outskirts of Hebden Bridge, a progressive community known for its art, music, and queer non-conformity, I was troubled by transphobic incidents brought about by the recent consultation about the UK’s Gender Recognition Act. An ideological breach was revealed in our local lesbian community that was redressed with affirmative action, in order to send out the clear message that trans persons – and especially the trans women targeted – are an inalienable part of the queer community and of feminism. While our personal and individual experiences of gender and sexuality may be far from identical, we are all comparably invested in the challenge to heteronormative patriarchy that is common to most queer peoples, their allies, and even, at times, those who do not think of themselves as either queer or queer-friendly.

The idea that our identities and experiences may be distinct, while our political commitments overlap with those who are not exactly like ourselves, is linked to transversality. The notion of transversality, as variously developed in critical theory by the likes of Deleuze, Guattari, and Glissant, and more recently by Hwa Yol Jung, describes dynamics that cut across the identity groups posited by our societies, in a way that dissolves the extremes of essentialism and constructionism. It also involves movement, both physical and ideological, across spaces and cultures. In other words: we keep our identities; they can be deemed immanent and key to who we are; but we can also think beyond our own identities and connect with those different from us, sharing ideas and tools for dissent. I first thought of organising a discussion of transfeminism as transversal in the hope that it would spark a productive dialogue across identities, disciplines, and discourses.

As a cisgender gay man, as a postcolonial, queer, and diaspora scholar, I can see no hope for a juster or more inclusive future than in thinking beyond our partial perspectives by joining in, and learning from – and with! – those people with whom we share some very fundamental values despite our distinct identities. The commonality of our stories, I hope, can only grow in the telling. We may not be the same; we may not even agree on every single thing; but, after all, in Rosi Braidotti’s words: “‘We’ are in this together.”

Thanks and registration!

We are really pleased by the range and quality of the paper proposals we have received. We hope to be in touch with applicants really soon!

Our registration site, for those eager to enrol before they have even heard from us, is already live, and it can be reached in the link below:


Conference CFP

The English-speaking world has recently rehearsed a series of attacks against the experiences and identities of trans people. From the Trump administration’s aggressive policing of trans soldiers in the military, to rampant transphobia in the UK’s feminist circles arising from the recent consultation about the Gender Recognition Act, political tensions have lately brought renewed attention to the ideological schisms at work within our societies at large and within feminist communities more specifically. It is therefore more important than ever to bring together the discourses of feminism, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, and trans studies, in an attempt at generating dialogue across discursive borders, and in solidarity with the recent plights of trans people.

The divisive threat of trans-exclusionary radical feminism is once again upon us. As Patricia Elliot observes, “[s]adly, the ‘rage of radical feminist theories’ […] has not entirely disappeared. It reappears in various theoretical positions, political practices, and attitudes and has caused a major rift among feminists, as well as good deal of pain for transpersons.” As an antidote to such schisms, Elliot proposes a transversal methodology amongst the members of feminist and LGBT+ communities, a mode of thought “recognizing their different experiences as well as those aspects that are shared”. The concept of transversality thus involves the intersecting of different subjects and how their meeting is shaped by their commonalities and their differences. It is the aim of our one-day conference at the University of Roehampton to encourage transversal thinking, so that epistemic and political bridges can be built between subjects who may in some ways be different from each other but who are similarly committed to disrupting heteropatriarchy and the biological prescriptions of cisterhood.

Any transversal endeavour must also think beyond the realms of gender and sexuality and take into consideration the intersectionalities resulting from the various histories of colonialism and diaspora. According to Hwa Yol Jung: “In today’s multicultural and globalizing world, we are in dire need of inventing new concepts to explore changing realities. I would venture to say that transversality is one of those new concepts that replaces the outmoded Eurocentric idea of universality in Western modernity.” So, another crucial dimension of our conference will be thinking about other semantic formations of the prefix “trans-“ and of trans subjectivity, such as transnationalism, transculturalism, and translation. Thinking beyond the persistent legacies of the European Enlightenment, transversal thinking about gender and sexuality ought to include concepts and theories challenging the contours of Eurocentrism, welcoming diverse race, ethnic, religious, and cultural perspectives, especially those posited at the crossroads of different cultural traditions.

Our conference’s plenary address will be delivered by Dr Ulrika Dahl, Professor of Gender Studies at Uppsala University (Sweden), whose intersectional work in critical femininity studies, queer studies, studies of kinship and reproduction, and on feminist theory and activism, will productively speak to our conference’s themes and ethos.

We will also hold a Round Table led by the Trans Studies Network UK.

This conference is funded by the research project Bodies in Transit II: Genders, Mobilities, Interdependencies, which is funded by the Spanish government, and which has research partners across Europe, and it is co-organised by Dr Alberto Fernández-Carbajal, Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Roehampton, and the Trans Studies Network UK, a new academic network also based at Roehampton.

Our CFP is now officially closed, but please look out for registration updates in case you would like to attend the conference as an audience member.