Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
March 26, 2020 at 3:00 PM in Clement Hall
Advisor: Mary Beth Mader
Ways of Being, Seen and Unseen: Concepts, Practices and the Emergence of Trans Ways of Life
ABSTRACT: "The dissertation presents a philosophical analysis of social possibilities in connection with gender. Specifically, the dissertation concerns how people take up social possibilities for different ways of living gender and how these possibilities emerge. The goal of the dissertation is to construct a philosophical framework that can be used to analyze social possibility in connection with trans (transsexual, transgender and gender non-conforming) existence. The dissertation argues that it is salutary to analyze the how concepts, practices and embodiment affect access to gendered social possibilities. The dissertation draws first on Heidegger in order to develop an ontological account of possibility as a feature of human beings, along with an account of how people access gendered social possibilities through everyday and theoretical understandings of the world and through practices. Next, the dissertation draws on Foucault in order to analyze how power affects people's access to social possibilities through its operations in the social field. The dissertation then turns to an analysis of medical and psychological knowledge production practices in connection with transsexuality in the mid-20th century in the United States with a view to how these knowledge production practices conceptualized trans existence. Lastly, the dissertation turns to trans theory in order to analyze conceptual developments in that field that can serve as alternatives to the earlier medicalized conceptualizations of trans life."