Noon Colloquium

Rebecca Carbery (Universität Klagenfurt) will give a Noon Colloquium talk titled "Trans* and Inter*: Beyond transgender and intersex through German- and English-speaking new digital media" at 12 p.m. in Dwinelle 282.

This presentation deals with ways in which trans* and intersex portray themselves in both German- and English-speaking new digital media. The emerging digital climate has become an essential aspect of social movements for change in society and discourse as it allows wider representation of self on a variety of platforms.

As Jay Prosser said in his paper (Jan. 2012) at the conference Transgender and Intersex in the Arts, Science and Society in Dresden, "new digital media are transforming the representations and therefore the lives of transgender subjects." He also states that the ease of taking one’s own portrait on a digital camera and of circulating photographs and videos via the internet means that more 'transsexual' subjects are documenting their transitions in the form of blogs and other dissemination sites and argues that this is leading to an increased acceptance and awareness of transgender.

Specific examples are taken from YouTube video blogs (vlogs) and online blogs. I use textual, film and image analysis to ask how these new digital media forms allow trans* and intersex people to convey their complicated experiences of sex and gender to the outside world. What are the main topics discussed or dealt with in their blogs/vlogs? (How) is this opening up a previously binary-focussed (transsexual) discourse?

I am also investigating inter-cultural aspects of English-speaking and German-speaking representations of trans* and intersex in the aforementioned media forms. Are there any notable differences and similarities in the English and German language manifestations (e.g., in approach, main topics addressed, terminology)? Examples mentioned include blogs by 'celebrities' such as Jack Halberstam (bullybloggers), Kate Bornstein (Kate Bornstein Is A Queer and Pleasant Danger – this is her blog) and Riki Wilchins as well as less-as-well-known vloggers/bloggers including Iradgray, German blogger Lukas (transmission) Cary Gabriel Costello (Intersex Roadshow and Transfusion) and Austrian blogger Alex Juergen.