Community event will showcase trans philosophy and scholarship

On May 1, a public event organized by trans Cornellians will address issues and harms facing the community from a trans perspective. “Dispelling the Trans Specter: A Politics and Philosophy of Solidarity,” will be held from 5:30-7:30 pm in Rm. 132, Goldwin Smith. The event is free and the public is invited.

A reception will follow the event, featuring a trans-positive book giveaway from Buffalo Street Books, cookies from Via’s, pizza and (non-alcoholic) drinks.

“This is a public, inclusive academic community celebration of transgender scholarship and life, to counter anti-trans speech on campus and abroad. Through intersectional solidarity, we emphasize compatible needs of trans people, cisgender people and racial/ethnic minorities,” said the organizers in a statement.

Speakers include Willow Starr, associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S); Chan Tov McNamarah, visiting assistant professor of law; Kate Manne, associate professor of philosophy (A&S); and Perry Zurn, society fellow at the Society for the Humanities (A&S) and Provost Associate Professor of Philosophy at American University.

The presentations will cover the framing of trans politics; the failures of cis woman protective arguments to protect women, and the racialized history of these arguments; feminism; and trans philosophy.

Following the speakers, a panel will discuss the presentations and will address institutional responsibilities of platforming and free speech. The panel will also explore whether there is a moral duty to mitigate harm to marginalized people if the university platforms speakers opposing their civil rights and social respectability. Panelists will include the four speakers as well as Kadji Amin, Society Fellow in the Society for the Humanities (A&S); Adriene Takaoka, visiting lecturer in philosophy (A&S); and PJ DiPietro, associate professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at Syracuse University.

The goal of “Dispelling the Trans Specter,” say the organizers, is to “Inform and frame trans political, theoretical and philosophical issues for anyone that’s curious about them. We want to support trans folks with kindness, knowledge and community.”

The organizers also say they hope to “provide an alternative outlet for marginalized and vulnerable faculty/staff/students who want to resist anti-trans speech on campus and abroad through building trans-inclusive intellectual community.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy, Anthropology, Literatures in English and Government; the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Program; the Society for the Humanities; and the Indigeneity, Race, Gender, and Sexuality Initiative (all A&S).

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