17th May: ‘Synaesthetic Politics and Transgender Films’ Wibke Straube

On Tuesday 17th May, 1-2pm in SB317. All welcome!

Synaesthetic Politics and Transgender Films

Speaker: Wibke Straube

Chair: Daniel Ploeger


I am working on Transgender Feature Films, meaning films whose narratives predominantly deal with the gender trouble or gender transition of the protagonists –sometimes the main character is a child, like in the Belgium film Ma Vie en Rose (Dir.: Alain Berliner, FR/B/JAP 1997) or the person is aiming for sex reassignment surgery later in life, like the main protagonist Bree in Transamerica (Dir.: Duncan Tucker, USA 2005). Genre-wise the films are very different, usually they are connected to melodrama or drama comedy in the form of a roadmovie, musical, music film, coming-of-age story, etc. I am very interested in de-privileging the visual paradim within film and film analysis – I am not really sure, yet, how methodologically, but in terms of my theoretical framework, I am strongly turning towards the haptic sense as well as to hearing – all three senses, hearing, touch, and vision are very important in terms of the narration of trans subjectivity as something else than a normalised mainstream story which is easily digestable for a noninformed, “straight“ audience.

I am working on the development of a political concept for the dynamics, I see as vital and important within trans films – meaning, image politics that point to an elsewhere and that have affirmative rather than normalising dimensions. I momentarily summarise it as Synaethetic Politics – that gathers the merging of different senses and the effects of this on trans embodiment. Normalisation is a strong topic within mainstream trans films, but I find myself to be more curious about the “exit points“ (Rosi Braidotti), the “counter“ narratives and the narrative gaps within the film, that enable a non-deterministic perspective on gender and further identity categories and include glimpses into utopian structures of life.


Wibke Straube is a Gender Studies Researcher at Linköping University in hir second year. S_he handed in hir M.A. thesis in Gender and Media Studies in 2002 at Sussex University on the hate crime case of Brandon Teena and the negotiation of gender ambiguity in mainstream media. S_he mostly lives in Linköping and sometimes in Berlin. Wibke has been co-organising queer art exhibitions, film festivals, writes sometimes interviews and articles for fanzines and feminist journals, sees hirself as part of the queerfeminist scene in Berlin and right now, co-organises a lecture series at Linköping University. Hir academic areas of interest are Queer and Feminist Visual Studies, Cultural Studies, Disability and Postcolonial Studie as well as in general film, art, media, materialism, critical discourse analysis, Deleuze, affect, post/modernity, and the posthumanities.


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