Trans* Speaker Series: 'The Phenomenology of Illusion'
March 1, 2017
UMass Amherst Campus
Talia Mae Bettcher speaks on "The Phenomenology of Illusion: On Gender Transitions and Existential Identity."
“What is gender transition?” and “Why do trans people do it?” In this talk, Bettcher will explore these questions from a trans philosophical perspective. Bettcher will critique both “born this way” and constructionist accounts that centralize the notion of embodiment. Instead, Bettcher argues for a broader account that centralizes the notion of empersonment. This requires a new understanding of personhood in terms of interpersonal spatiality (closeness/intimacy and distance). Bettcher argues that gender transitions and the affective and cognitive investments that drive them can be seen as arising in resistance to the abusive system of interpersonal spatiality in which persons are constituted.
Bettcher is a professor of philosophy at California State University, Los Angeles. She has published articles on transphobia and transphobic violence and she teaches courses on the philosophy of gender, including “Introduction to Transgender Studies” and “Trans/Feminism.” She is the past director of the Center for Study of Genders and Sexualities at CSULA and is currently department chair. She is also a community-based performance artist and she has been actively involved in Los Angeles transgender community and grass-roots organizing for many years.
Organized by the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies with support from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the Provost's Office.