Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

FROM ANOMALY TO ALARM: Trans and Crip Bodies in the Security State (Ellen Samuels)

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 4:30pm

Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility) / Free and open to the public

Co-sponsored by the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality & Women

Discussant: Beth Linker (UPenn Dept. of History & Sociology of Science)

A 2015 POLICY CHANGE by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, from calling certain travelers “anomalies” to calling them “alarms,” signals the emergence of a new surveillance of travelling bodies that do not fit into normalized expectations of gender and ability. Hidden beneath discourses of security, we find definitions of citizenship that rely upon biological notions of “safe” and legible citizen-bodies. This talk considers the process by which special scrutiny on transgender, gender-nonconforming, and disabled travelers at airport security checkpoints casts these subjects outside of biocitizenship and explores what this dynamic means for broader questions of citizenship and mobility in the twenty-first century.

ELLEN SAMUELS is Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the author of Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race (2014). Her critical work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Feminist Disability StudiesGLQMELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United StatesThe Disability Studies Reader, Amerasia, and is forthcoming in the anthologies, Disability and Media Studies,and Disability and Disclosure in Higher Education. Her awards include the Ed Roberts Postdoctoral Fellowship in Disability Studies, the Catherine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship, and two Lambda Literary awards. She is working on a new book, Double Meanings: Representing Conjoined Twins.