Michael J. Morris is an artist, scholar, and educator who holds a PhD from The Ohio State University. In their teaching, writing, choreography, and performance, Morris works to expand the ways in which we live and understand our bodies, creating more space for difference and livability for more ways of life. They are currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Denison University, teaching in the Department of Dance, Queer Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Their writing has been published in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, the European Journal of Ecopsychology, Choreographic Practices, and TDR: The Drama Review. From 2011 to 2015, they facilitated Queer Yoga, an inclusive community-based yoga class sponsored by Queer Behavior which aimed to create welcoming and supportive spaces for LGBTQ people to engage, appreciate, and celebrate their bodies.
Presentation: Transgender Studies Beyond the University: How Else Might We Tell Our Own Stories?
Time: Breakout Session 3
This presentation will offer an introduction to the field of Transgender Studies, the historical conditions from which it emerged, and the concerns that motivate this area of study. We will also consider how the work of scholars and activists working within this academic field can be useful in contexts beyond the university. As an interdisciplinary field, Transgender Studies developed primarily out of the writings of trans people, in response to the dominant discourses of transsexuality and transgender phenomena in the areas of medicine and psychology. Writers such as Sandy Stone, Kate Bornstein, Susan Stryker, Jack Halberstam, and Paul B. Preciado among others have challenged the conventions of social and cultural practices that have often required trans people to articulate their own experiences through familiar narratives in order to access care. From their provocations, we will consider the importance of giving voice to gendered experiences that do not conform to rigid, binary understandings of gender and telling our own stories in ways that expand how we might live diversely self-determined lives.
1. To introduce Transgender Studies and its contributions to populations outside of the university.
2. To question the conventions and practices through which gender-variant experiences are regulated in dominant discourses.
3. To stimulate discussion about how else transgender experiences might be described and understood in order to create more space for recognizing the range of gender difference beyond the binary.