The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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C. Riley Snorton: DeVine's Cut

C. Riley Snorton

In this lecture C. Riley Snorton will interrogate the absent presence of Phillip DeVine from the public memory of the Humboldt killings and the national narration of Brandon Teena, as a transgender martyr. While rarely mentioned at all, DeVine's ascription as "wrong place, wrong time," a rhetorical maneuver that situates DeVine's presence in the Brandon archive by evacuating his place within, and as a necessary consequence of, the archive's construction, is instructive for Riley's reading of the symptomatically disavowed coarticulations of antiblackness and anti-trans violence, as it engenders a way to perceive how the mechanisms that contribute to Brandon Teena's symbolic significance to trans historiography simultaneously posit DeVine's figuration as always and already untimely, assigned to a conversation perpetually deferred. Making use of biomythography and following Sylvia Wynter's work, this talk ponders on what aspects of DeVine's figuration, as a matter of sociogenesis, constitute a usable history for more livable black and trans lives?  Snorton contends that to presence DeVine - to invent his/a life - then is to approach phenomenologically the interstitialities of black and trans life and black and trans death, particularly as it bears upon the current conjuncture of black trans life and spectacularized black trans deaths and their routes of public circulation in Transgender Days of Remembrance/Resistance and as they has given rise to the #TransLivesMatters and #BlackTransLivesMatters movements.


This is the second in a Trans* Studies Speaker Series.  The final two are March 1 and 22, 2017.  Stay tuned!