Transgender Studies @ Duke

 Transgender Studies + Humanities Series

The Transgender Studies & Humanities project took place over 2016 to 2018. This initiative considers how the emerging field of Transgender Studies has implications for Gender Studies and for the Humanities in general. The initiative includes pedagogical components, post-doctoral fellowships, and events. It was motivated by these questions:

  1. How does transgender studies reshape the structuring assumptions of humanistic inquiry?
  2. What are the potential contributions of critical transgender studies—meaning, in general terms, of a humanities approach to trans* existence—outside of the academy, such as to healthcare or advocacy?

Funded by the Humanities Futures Initiative at the Franklin Humanities Institute. Project Directors: Ara Wilson & Gabriel Rosenberg. Project assistant, 2017-18: Cole Rizki.

Post-doctoral Fellows, 2017-2018

Nick Clarkson, Assistant Professor, New College, Florida

Cameron Awkward-Rich, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Additional Events:Gill-Peterson Duke talk flier

Fall 2018

Concluding event of the "Transgender Studies and the Humanities" Series:
Julian Gill-Peterson (English, University of Pittsburgh), seminar on their forthcoming book, Histories of the Transgender Child, with pre-circulated readings.
Tuesday, October 16, 1:00pm-3:00pm in the East Duke parlors.

Spring 2018

Susan Stryker (University of Arizona), Annual Queer Theory Lecture Stryker Queer Theory Lecture Duke flier
February 8 2018

Cameron Awkward-Rich (GSF post-doctoral fellow), lecture

Fall 2017

Plemons Duke events 2017Dr. Eric Plemons, (University of Arizona)
Tuesday Sept. 5th, "Trans Medicine & the Making of a Woman"
Wednesday September 6th, 1:30 PM, Duke Medical Center (invitational workshop), Dr. Eric Plemons presentation on Gender Clinics. Co-sponsored with the Duke Child and Adolescent Gender Care Clinic

Nick Clarkson, (GSF post-doctoral fellow), on contemporary transgender citizenship in a context of U.S. surveillance and security policy.

Past Events

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 1:00pm
East Duke Parlors
PLease RSVP to to receive the pre-workshop reading. Box lunch provided. Please indicate if you prefer vegetarian.Julian Gill-Peterson is Assistant Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of... Read More »
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 5:00pm
Parlors, East Duke Building
Tuesday September 5th, 5:30 PM, East Duke Parlors, East Duke BuildingDr. Eric Plemons, University of Arizona: "Trans medicine & the look of a woman: Facial Feminization Surgery & the Aims of Trans Medicine."
Friday, February 10, 2017 - 3:00pm
Smith Warehouse - Bay 4, C105 - Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall
Transgender Studies + Humanities Series | Symposium on Race & Transgender Studies | Live stream link - |Co-Sponsored by Humanities Futures initiative @ the Franklin Humanities Institute, Program in Latino/a Studies in the... Read More »
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 5:30pm
East Duke Parlors
This talk will explore the case of Latisha King, a gender-transgressive 15-year-old who was shot and killed in an Oxnard, California junior high school by a 14-year-old classmate in 2008. Salamon will offer a phenomenological reading of the school and the courtroom to explore the paradoxical nature... Read More »
Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 4:30pm
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (101 West Duke Building)
Transgender people, like other LGBTQ people, are disproportionality represented in the criminal justice system in the United States. Criminalization of LGBTQ lives frequently results in their incarceration, an imprisonment that may have consequences that are uniquely harsh on transgender prisoners... Read More »

Trangender Studies: Curriculum and Pedagogy

Transgender Studies: Pedagogical Projects



A list of courses in transgender studies in US and Canadian schools, assembled by Jeremy Gottlieb (Duke '18), with sample syllabi will be available soon.


Training in Trans* inclusion in the classroom, April 2017.
Panel & workshop on integrating transgender studies in the Gender Studies Curriculum, April 2017


Spring 2018:

GSF or SXL 89s01: First Year Seminar: Trans Identities & Activism. Prof. Nick Clarkson
Open to first year students. Transgender politics seem to be everywhere, but what does this media attention mean for lived gender self-determination and liberation? Consider the visibility of trans celebrities such as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Caitlyn Jenner; the success of Amazon’s streaming TV series Transparent; and proposals to restrict bathroom usage for trans people. This class rethinks these cultural flash-points through a survey of topics central to contemporary trans identity and activism: media representations of trans lives; the politics of trans medical care; gender policing in public space; the relationship between trans liberation and feminist activism; and many other issues.

GSF 290s.05 or SXL 290s.02 (WF 11:45AM-01:00PM): Reading Trans. Prof. C. Awkward-Rich
From newspaper chronicles of 19th century gender benders to the present-day explosion of transgender poetry, our personal, cultural, and political understandings of gender variance have long been tied to particular modes of text-based representation. Through sustained engagement with such creative work, as well as background reading in trans history and theory, this course will offer a literary history of “trans.” Although we will pull material from across time and genre, we will focus on contemporary writers like Janet Mock and Joshua Jennifer Espinoza. Together, we will ask questions about authorship; the relationship between social conditions and representational strategies; the possibilities and limitations of different genres; and, ultimately, what makes literature (and/or literary analysis) trans.

Fall 2017:
Transgender cinema. Crosslisted with Literature.

Fall 2016: Transgender Studies & Humanities project supported Introduction to Transgender Studies, (Lit 190S-04, WST, SXL). Instructor: Cole Rizki. 

Data+ Project on Transgender Discrimination SurveySummer 2016, Duke Data+ undergraduate team, a summer project analyzing data from the 2008-09 National Transgender Discrimination Survey in the Data+ program hosted by iiD at Duke University. A video description can be found here.