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  • 1512 International Affairs Building, Columbia University (map)

The Center for the Study of Social Difference and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Council are co-hosting a spring 2015 Keywords Roundtable Discussion on the keyword “trans.”  The panel will examine the prefix, especially the suggestion of fluidity—of movement, identity, signification—it implies. Transgender is a key framing concept.  In the domains of law, public health, and public policy, what challenges and possibilities are posed by transgendered subjects?  And how is that question opened up if we think about transgender in relationship to other concepts that pivot on “trans,” such as translation, transnational, transportation?

The emphasis in the Keyword Conversations is, indeed, on conversation, so we ask each participant to prepare only about ten minutes of critical reflections, which are followed by dialogue among participants and audience members.  

Featured participants:

Jack Halberstam
Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California

Yvette Christiansë

Professor of English and Africana Studies, Barnard College

Jack Pula

Instructor of Psychiatry, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University; and Chairperson of the Transgender Committee, Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists

Yasmine Ergas

Co-Chair of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Council; Director of Gender & Public Policy Specialization; and Lecturer in Discipline of International and Public Affairs, SIPA


Jean Howard

George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities and Chair, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Roundtable Conversations is a series inspired by the innovative interdisciplinary scholarship promoted by the Center for the Study of Social Difference. The series draws participants together from a wide range of disciplinary homes in order to explore the various ways we think about fundamental critical/theoretical ideas and to generate new vocabularies and new methodologies.  The WGSS Council is a network of leaders from centers, institutes, and initiatives at Columbia University dedicated to women's, gender, and sexuality studies.