On Work, and Nullity in Thought
I wonder at points whether my own project should be re-titled “The Phenomenology of Transgender Political Resistance.” It is in one major sense the coverage of transgender experiences through legal, political, and archival events. It describes embodied states. It suggests the conditions for the possibility of epistemic justice. It embarks down rather dark roads where the concept of the political is its most plastic. In examining remembrances, those traces of being lost to the archive, it details the becoming-gender of those “pioneers” who came before. It questions the pertinence of the already-said within what is sayable today. It signifies the immediate absence or void of our shared knowledge of the plurality of gendered being.
My work follows a path that condemns our inability to think. On the one hand, it suggests our experiences are conditioned by historical limits. Does this, too, limit our thinking and our futures. On the other, it glares at our unavoidable ignorance of being. It derives for its premise this thing we call gender. It carves up its binarism and examines the gruesome duality of gendered being for the sake of imagining the possibilities of existing: in social fields, in legal discourses, in political embodiment, in the memory of the after-life.
Perhaps our great error is that the human’s being is taken at the very limit of identity–at once proclaiming a bodily sovereignty yet denying that body’s exclusive rights to its self-determination. Cornered by the rationalism of law, and the orderly goals of politics, the body stands somewhere between the beams of light that are liberalism’s promises, and the exclusionary shadows that are liberalism’s denial. Is our thinking is lost in liberalism’s nullity?