Conny Wächter, Ruhr University, Bochum

6 December, 2016

Transgender politics are suffused with rhetorics of complicity. To name but a few examples, especially in radical feminist and queer circles, trans women are frequently accused of complicity in  patriarchal ideology and in reaffirming the gender binary – whereas trans men rarely face analogous  criticism; representations of trans* people are often criticised for their complicity in cissexism and  sensationalism; and cis-gendered scholars in the fields of medicine, sociology, or literary and cultural studies may become complicit in power/knowledge constructs that disavow the voices of transgendered subjects and contribute to the latter’s marginalisation and pathologisation. As this lecture is going to demonstrate, the critical analysis of complicity rhetorics can serve to unmask and  to illustrate ongoing ideological struggles and discursive fault lines in transgender politics. A particular focus will be placed on the politics of representation in this respect.


Dr Cornelia Wächter is Assistant Professor of British Cultural Studies at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. She is he author of Place-ing the Prison Officer: The ‘Warder’ in the British Literary and Cultural Imagination (Brill/Rodopi, 2015) and co-edited Middlebrow and Gender, 1890-1945 (Brill, 2016) with Christoph Ehland. Cornelia currently works on a book project on complicity and the politics of representation.

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