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Art Critique Essay History Humanities Nonfiction Other Theory

Trans Cultural Production (co-edited special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly) Introduction

By David J. Getsy, 2014

This issue of TSQ explores trans both in relation to and as a form of creative practice—a project that repeatedly brought the editorial team face-to-face with some fundamental questions. What does trans look like? Must it be apparent or easily legible? Through which strategies might we articulate the significance of the many ways culture makers explore and express issues of form, content, medium, technique, duration, reception, authenticity, and originality in relation to trans aesthetics or sensibilities? How should we approach the vexed politics of trans representation, with all the issues they raise about accuracy, inclusion, and accountability? How long a history can we imagine for what this issue of TSQ is calling “trans cultural production”? Gender expresses culture, and cul-ture transforms the material world, including the materiality of our bodies; atwhat point, then, does it become analytically necessary to distinguish a particularly“transgender” creativity from a more pervasive drive to create cultural forms, including embodied selves? Who knows? We can’t say, after all, what dreams animated the artists who outlined their hands on cave walls by blowing pigmentthrough hollow reeds.

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