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Public Lecture: Cáel Keegan, “Bound Together: The Sensorial Life of Trans* Media Forms”
March 7, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Queer media studies scholarship focusing on transgender identity has been primarily concerned with the quality of representation: a politically necessary but narrow focus that fixes the form of what might be considered “transgender” media. Such positivist approaches often treat transgender people as if we pre-exist our mediated significations, obscuring how transgender identities might themselves be generated through aesthetic encounter. Drawing on emergent methods from trans* studies, this talk revisits the Wachowski sisters’ debut film, Bound (1996), to explore how media texts may become trans* through their formal capacities to express transgender sensation. Originally perceived as an exercise in lesbian style, Bound enacts a sensorial pedagogy that reveals how trans* modes of imagination have been historically enfolded with queer desire. To read Bound as a transgender text means abandoning what we think we see to sense otherwise – a trans* method that traces how media forms and transgender phenomena are bound together in a mutually constitutive sensorial life.
Cáel Keegan is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Liberal Studies at Grand Valley State University. He is the author of Lana and Lilly Wachowski: Sensing Transgender (University of Illinois Press, 2018) and co-editor of Somatechnics 8.1: “Cinematic Bodies.” His writing also appears in Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, Mediekultur, Genders, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Journal of Homosexuality, and Spectator 37.2: “Transgender Media.” Dr Keegan is the Secretary of the Queer Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.