Duke Univ. Press Debuts Academic Journal for Transgender Studies

Transgender Studies Quarterly bills itself as the first nonmedical journal focusing on contemporary issues facing the trans and gender-nonconforming communities.

BY Mitch Kellaway

May 27 2014 2:46 PM ET

Duke University Press has released Transgender Studies Quarterly, the first non-medical academic journal devoted to transgender issues. 

The inaugural volume, titled "Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a 21st Century Transgender Studies," features a widely circulated image of transgender military whistleblower Chelsea Manning on the cover. Manning's picture "could be no better illustration of the timeliness or significance of paying careful attention to transgender issues," write co-editors Susan Stryker, Ph.D., and Dr. Paisley Currah, Ph.D., in the journal's introduction. They go on to describe the field of transgender studies as "a significant intellectual and political intervention into contemporary knowledge production" akin to queer theory, which has had a substantial impact on gender, feminist, and social studies for the past 20 years. 

The journal is a necessity, Stryker, who is herself a transgender scholar, explained in a recent Kickstarter campaign video: 

"So often … other people produce knowledge about us. … We’re really trying to create a different way for ‘transgender’ to be important, to be significant, to be intelligible in ways that break out of ‘What do non-transgender people want ‘trans’ to be for them?'"

Stryker and Currah teamed up more than a year ago to begin creating the groundbreaking journal. In June 2013, the pair announced their intention to publish TSQ with Duke University Press, launching a Kickstarter campaign which successfully raised more than $24,000 to defray start up costs.

TSQ's initial call for submissions garnered so much interest that Stryker and Currah turned the first volume into a book-length, double issue. It totals nearly 300 pages, and is now available for purchase from Duke University Press' website.

The journal's editorial board and special guest editors are already working on a subsequent six volumes, covering themes that include decolonization, data collection, teaching, and archiving. The thematic approach aims to illustrate how transgender issues intersect with wide-ranging academic disciplines, and attract scholars who had never before considered transgender issues relevant to their own research.

"There’s so much great work being done in trans studies in all these interdisciplinary areas," Currah summarized in a recent video announcing the journal's launch. "[TSQ] is going to bring it together."

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