For the past decade or so, “emergent” has often appeared alongside “transgender studies” to describe a growing scholarly field. As of 2014, transgender studies can boast several conferences, a number of edited collections and thematic journal issues, courses in some college curricula, and?–?with this inaugural issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly?–?an academic journal with a premier university press. But while the scholarly trope of emergence conjures the cutting edge, it can also be an infantilizing temporality that communicates (and contributes to) perpetual marginalization. An emergent field is always on the verge of becoming, but it may never arrive.
By Regina Kunzel, 2014