Julian Carter

Julian Carter

Associate Professor of Visual and Critical Studies,

Chair of Critical Studies,

California College of the Arts

Julian Carter is a dancer, queer theorist and critical historian whose writing explores race, erotic culture and the embodied performance of personal identity. His book The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1890-1940 (Duke University Press, 2007) uses sex advice writing and other vintage pop-cultural sources to show how the concept of "normality" combines ideas about heterosexuality and whiteness in a way that makes it difficult for white, straight people to perceive the specificity of their subject-positions. Recent essays appear in GLQ and The Transgender Studies Reader, vol 2; he is currently working on a book about ballet swans in contemporary dance. Carter sits on the editorial board of the new journal TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.

Trans- Praxis Sandbox: Exploring Creative and Critical Moves

This workshop offers an in-depth interactive opportunity to explore the generative connections between theory and embodied trans- experience, both in and outside of academic institutions.

Many current trans- theories explore the power of a prefix that animates the nouns to which it is attached. But why should anyone care about a prefix? We see trans- as especially generative in the way it foregrounds the inherently dynamic nature of embodied, intersectional experience as we navigate the varied and multiple constraints of changing social location. The radical potential of trans praxis may exist in the simultaneity and extension of its pulse and impulse.

This workshop begins by engaging several keywords in the first issue of the new Transgender Studies Quarterly. Workshop participants will respond to and extend these key concepts through creative and analytic writing, discussion, and physical movement exercises. Our collective goal is to clarify and share our theoretical and political investments in a playful yet serious way. Together we will explore how we can connect creative and critical, activist and scholarly engagements.

Workshop participants will help define the discussion.
Questions we may consider include:
1)  How does trans theory's emphasis on movement reflect the dynamic nature of embodied experiences of race, age, physical ability, ethnicity, religion, and immigrant/citizen status?
2)  How might trans- theory's emphasis on movement be mobilized for collaborative praxes of creative, critical and activist engagement?
3)  What cultures of learning about gender and power do we seek to support when we explore trans- subjects at each academic level and in co-curricular activities?
4)  How does movement help us shift classroom culture and our work in educational institutions?
5)  How are campus cultures shifting in response to changes in gender politics and perceptions in the culture at large?
6)  How do current students' expectations about transing gender (e.g., fluidity, transparency) differ from the assumptions many faculty bring to class (e.g., relatively clearly defined, occulted)?