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Biography Essay Humanities Nonfiction Other Social Sciences Theory

An Apartment on Uranus

By Written by Paul B. Preciado, English translation by Charlotte Mandell, 2019

Uranus, the frozen giant, is the coldest planet in the solar system, as well as a deity in Greek mythology. It is also the inspiration for uranism, a concept coined by the writer Karl Heinrich Ulrich in 1864 to define the `third sex’ and the rights of those who `love differently’. Following in Ulrich’s footsteps, Paul B. Preciado dreams of an apartment on Uranus where he might live beyond existing power, gender and racial strictures invented by modernity. `My trans condition is a new form of uranism,’ writes the author. `I am not a man. I am not a woman. I am not heterosexual. I am not homosexual. I am not bisexual. I am a dissident of the genus-gender system. I am the multiplicity of the cosmos trapped in a binary political and epistemological system, shouting in front of you. I am a uranist confined inside the limits of technoscientific capitalism.’ This book, a chronicle of a crossing, recounts the process of transforming from Beatriz into Paul B. during which the author transformed his body and subjectivity through the self-administration of testosterone. Yet An Apartment on Uranus is not simply an account of gender transitioning, but rather of a global transition: Preciado analyses other processes of political, cultural and sexual transition, reflecting on socio-political issues including the rise of neo-fascism in Europe, the migrant crisis, the Zapatista struggle in Mexico, the fight for Catalonian independence, Julian Assange, sex work, Trump’s America, the harassment of trans children, the technological appropriation of the uterus, and the role museums might play in the cultural revolution to come. AN APARTMENT ON URANUS is a bold, transgressive and necessary book which takes a personal experience as a starting point to question the foundations of a society which excludes heterodoxy and proclaims it deviancy or illness, putting forward a radical argument for a new gender politics.

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