Whither Trans Studies?: On Fields, Post-Disciplines, and the Need for an Applied Transgender Studies
Thomas J Billard , Avery R. Everhart , Erique Zhang
The institutionalization of transgender studies as a field comes just as the academy has decided that “fields” are a less relevant and more cumbersome aspect of professional academic organization that prevents the kind of theoretical and empirical work needed to make scholarship relevant to contemporary society. A number of areas of intellectual inquiry have, accordingly, shifted to a “post-discipline” model of academic organization. But what would it mean to think of transgender studies as a post-discipline? First, it would mean a turn away from a focus on field-building within the humanities. Second, it would mean insisting upon transdisciplinary collaboration despite the academy’s failure to encourage such collaboration. But perhaps most importantly, it would mean a turn toward addressing the material conditions of transgender existence and the issues transgender people face in the world. In short, it would mean reorienting ourselves toward an applied transgender studies.