Early on in Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, C. Riley Snorton tells readers, “Black on Both Sides is not a history per se, so much as it is a set of political propositions, theories of history and writerly experiments.” (6) I found Snorton's intentional disruption of our assumptions about what constitutes “a history”—a disruption that continues throughout the text—an apt analogy for the book's theoretical interventions. Trans bodies are most vulnerable to violence when they disrupt our (cis) demands that gender presentation and physical sex provide a mutually constitutive mirror for each other. Snorton's pathbreaking book, though, cares little for our comfort and asks us to sit within the paradox produced by any attempt to conceptually and discretely apprehend histories of blackness/transness, categories which, he asserts and documents, represent conditions of possibility rather than static...
Transcending Disciplinary Boundaries
Kwame Holmes is assistant professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a historian of race, sexuality, and capitalism in the modern city, and his work has appeared in Radical History Review, No Tea No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies, and The Routledge History of Queer America.
Kwame Holmes; Transcending Disciplinary Boundaries. TSQ 1 May 2019; 6 (2): 274–277. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/23289252-7348594
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