Chronopolitical Assemblages: How gender reassignment makes racial genus in modern Iran
Join Duke Alumni as they talk to the personal, intellectual, academic, and spiritual trajectory through life, Duke, and graduate school.
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This talk examines the co-constitutive relationship between race/ism, sexuality, and time in modern Iran to argue that contemporary Iranians use a racial calculus to measure sexed and gendered modernity. It intervenes in how Iranians today narrate their experiences of gender non-conformity in popular media produced for the West to suggest that gender in Iran is a code word for race, is a code word for genus, or 'jins'. I argue that the Islamic Republic's uncanny support for sex change employs the logic of race science not to make trans subjectivities but, rather, to make a new Iranian: one that, in being trans, is able to climb the human's ladder of time, which is his ladder of racial modernity, in order to be eligible for the polished and perfected (but notably, not universal) humanism that Enlightenment Europe promised to Iran but never delivered.