Editors: Rachel Cleves, Alexie Glover, and Scott Larson

Popular associations between transgender and the future pose a serious challenge to historians of the transgender past. Transgender rights have been dubbed the “next civil rights frontier,” as increasing numbers of people lay claim to transgender and non-binary identities and expressions. But, contemporary claims for trans futures, which offer key ways of reimagining gender and gender variance, may have the unintended shadow effect of imposing an imagined stable gender binary on an undifferentiated past.

Given the tight association between concepts of transgender and imagined futures, frontiers, and new generations, how might historians make sense of trans in past tenses? How might we understand the formation of trans in earlier time periods and different cultural locations? How has gender variance, more broadly, shaped, challenged, and diverged from trans as a category of identity and lens of historical analysis?

Gay rights activists Sylvia Ray Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Barbara Deming, and Kady Vandeurs at City Hall rally for gay rights. (New York Public Library Digital Collections).

This CFP invites contributions that uncover the transformative dimensions of the past, and shed light on the instabilities, slippages, and blurring of gender binaries in diverse times and places. How can we expand our understanding of trans and gender non-conforming people in the past and present? What does trans as a framework of analysis tell us about the history of gender and sexuality more broadly?

We are seeking short submissions (1000 – 1500 words) exploring trans histories. We are looking for work that engages with trans experience in the distant and not-so-distant past. We encourage interdisciplinary submissions. We welcome blog posts, interviews with scholars, archivists, and activists. Please submit essays to amglover@uvic.ca by September 15, 2017. All NOTCHES submissions go through a peer review process.

Possible topics for exploration:

  • Gender variance beyond transgender
  • Transformations of race, class, ability, & other categories of identity/experience
  • Law, state violence, carceral histories, and histories of hate crimes legislation
  • Formation of and resistance to identity categories
  • Archival practices in trans history
  • Tension between changing gender and challenging gender
  • Gender transgressions versus gender variations

Style and image guidelines:

  • Submissions should be written for a non-specialist and international audience. Therefore, avoid jargon and use hyperlinks wherever possible to clarify terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to a general readership.
  • Include at least one relevant image for which you have obtained permission and caption your image with clear attribution information. We also welcome your use of a range of sources such as movies or sound files.
  • Include a short author bio including hyperlinks with your submission.
  • For more information see our submission guidelines.


Creative Commons License

NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.notchesblog.com.

For permission to publish any NOTCHES post in whole or in part please contact the editors at NotchesBlog@gmail.com

One Comment

  1. Great idea! I will email you something about Mx, which I’ve been using consistently since 2002. I think of Mx, pronounced ‘mix,’ as a non-binary transgender title, not as a purely or essentially neutral title. In 2015 I published a major article about Mx on my website, which is far too long for you to use in its original form.

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