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Abstract

My dissertation argues that late 20th-century continental philosophy, and particularly French post-structuralism, has instrumentalized transness, broadly understood, as a means to express their philosophical desire for destabilization and the breakdown of social and conceptual categorizations. Transness was used, within these discourses, as a metonymy for a pure expression of force. However, what this dissertation demonstrates is both that this reification denies the possibility for transness to be understood as a lived category of experience, but also that the privileging of force demonstrates a series of contradictions that are structural within the methodologies of the examined discourses. I challenge this genealogy in which the trans body has been positioned as a transgressive figure at the intersection of emerging conceptualizations of both anatomy and psychology. In opposition to these accounts, my project demonstrates the manner in which transness has been integral to the production of empirical and ontological categorizations of difference and embodiment.

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