Tricksters, Cross-Dressers: Transgender Identity and Politics, pre-20th century

Tricksters, Cross-Dressers: Transgender Identity and Politics, pre-20th century

International Conference

Thematic Approach

Cross-dressing and transgender identity in general remained for long in the shadow. It has been only recently that trans rights began to be widely discussed and researched across the academic world. The prevailing majority of existing research dealt mainly with issues and case studies emergent post-1900 – that is, rather recently in academic terms, and therefore, trans rights and related issues as a sphere of academic inquiry have sometimes been depicted as a “modern” concept. We hope we initiate a productive conversation on the notion of transgender identity as connected with the political world, pre-1900s so we find the roots and identify the history of this rich and long topic. 

Yet, looking back at history, we encounter fascinating figures such as John Randolph of Roanoke (1773-1833), Chevalier D’Eon (1728-1810), Nadezhda Durova (1783-1866), and countless others. The figure of the cross-dressing shaman or spiritual healer, occupying a place of crucial importance in the community, is a common presence across many cultures. 

Transgender identity was marginalized – or seen as a phenomenon allowing one to cross established boundaries (making it particularly useful for espionage). Sometimes, adopting the dress and cultural characteristics of another gender was a one-time forced move as part of a military or espionage operation; sometimes, it was a passionate political statement. Either way, this conference seeks to explore and discuss the concept of transgender identities and issues pre-20th century, as seen through the political prism, encompassing broad fields such as military, literature, science or diplomacy. 

We invite abstracts from scholars at diverse stages of their career but as always in GIRES, we particularly welcome applications from postgrads and early career researchers.

Proposed Topics

-Historical Trans figures
-Researching the Trans history: difficulties and limitations
-Traditional perceptions of trans figures- stereotypes and perspectives
-Trans rights and their impact on modern-day gender politics (e.g.similar to the Two-Spirit people in Native American cultures)
-Modern literary representations of historical trans figures
-Trans representation on (social) media
-Trickster figures in trans culture
-Political rights across the globe
-Religion and transgender people
-Film Representations of trans life-figures 

Proposed Formats (Lingua franca: English)

Submissions may propose various formats, including:

*Individually submitted papers (organized into panels by the  GIRES committee)
* Panels (3-4 individual papers)
* Roundtable discussions (led by one of the presenters)
* Posters

Our proposed topics & formats are not restrictive and we invite additional germane ideas

Due to the restrictions of Corona Crisis our event (for the time being) will take place VIRTUALLY

  • Date of Conference

    GIRES Headquarters (GMT +2)
    12 December 2020

  • Deadline for proposals

    29 November 2020

  • Acceptance notification

    1 December 2020

  • Registration fee

    80 Euros general fee
    60 Euros student fee

  • Accreditation

    Official Certificate issued by GIRES