Seminar in Transgender Studies

Below is the syllabus to the Seminar in Transgender Studies taught by Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher at California State University, Los Angeles. We have made available all of the readings which we are legally able to make available, and there are videos of all 10 weeks of the seminar.

Note: Downloading any of the accessible essays included here constitutes agreement that it is for personal use only.

Feel free to “take the class” at your leisure. Comments/suggestions to the syllabus are welcome.

Course Description

This seminar is a graduate-level introduction to the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. Because it is a philosophy seminar, there will be a particular emphasis on theoretical issues.

Some of the questions we examine include: Who are transgender people and what do we want? What is transgender studies and how does it differ from other forms of scholarship? What is the relationship between (trans) politics and theory? What is transphobia? How does trans politics relate to feminist politics, to queer politics, and to anti-racist politics? What is gender? What is sex? And how do they relate to the self?


Stryker, Susan and Whittle, Stephen (eds.). The Transgender Studies Reader, Routledge, 2006 .

Bettcher, Talia. “Feminist Perspectives on Trans Issues” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,2009.

class 1: Introduction to Seminar

  • Part 1: Intro | Part 2: Why? | Part 3: Careers | Part 4: Questions & Answers
  • The panel was not part of the class, but Dr. Bettcher was on the panel and the class attended prior to the first class.


    • Introduction to Course. “TG-101” Training  (Bamby Salcedo)
Vodpod videos no longer available.

class 2: Introduction to Transgender Studies

Lecture:  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


class 3: The Empire Strikes Back & Medicalization

Lecture: part 1 | part 2 |  part 3 | part 4 | part 5

Surprise Guest: Karina Samala


class 4: Ethnomethodology and the Natural Attitude about Gender

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 Part 6


  • Garfinkel “Passing and the Managed Achievement of Sex Status”
  • Kessler and McKenna “Toward a Theory of Gender”
  • Kessler and McKenna “Who Put the ‘Trans’ in Transgender”
  • Currah and Moore “We Don’t Know Who You Are?”

class 5: Liminality

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4


  • Hale “Are Lesbians Women”
  • Hale “Leatherdyke Boys and Their Daddies”
  • Hale “Tracing a Ghostly Memory in my Throat”
  • Hale “Consuming the Living”

Background:  LugonesPlayfulness, ‘World’-Travelling, and Loving Perception

class 6: Transphobia

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7


  • Namaste “Genderbashing”
  • Juang “Transgendering the Politics of Recognition”
  • Bettcher “Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers”
  • Bettcher “Full-Frontal Morality”

class 7: Inclusion/Exclusion

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4 Part 5 Part 6


class 8: Race, Religion, and Culture

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4 Part 5 Part 6


  • Overall “Transsexualism and ‘transracialism’”
  • Heyes “Changing Race, Changing Sex”
  • Scheman “Queering the Center by Centering the Queer”
  • Towle and Morgan “Romancing the Transgender Native”

class 9: Theories of Subjectivity and Identity

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4 Part 5


  • Hausman “Body, Technology, and Gender in Transsexual Autobiographies”
  • Meyerowitz “A ‘Fierce and Demanding’ Drive”
  • Overall “Sex/Gender Transitions and Life-Changing Aspirations”

class 10: Phenomenology in Trans Studies

Lecture: Part 1 | Part 2Part 3Part 4


  • Prosser “Judith Butler”
  • Rubin “Phenomenology as Method in Trans Studies”
  • Salamon “The Sexual Schema”

Additional Readings

Bettcher, Talia, 2007, “Evil deceivers and make-believers: Transphobic violence and the politics of illusion”Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 22 (3): 43–65.

—–, forthcoming, “Full Frontal Morality: The Naked Truth about Gender”, Hypatia


Currah, Paisely and Lisa Jean Moore, 2009, “We Won’t Know Who You Are”: Contesting Sex Designations in New York City Birth Certificates”,  Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 24 (3) 113-135


Hale, C. Jacob, 1997. “Leatherdyke Boys and Their Daddies: How to Have Sex without Women or Men”, Social Text 52/53 223-236.


—–, 1998a, “Consuming the living, Dis(re)membering the dead in the butch/ftm Borderlands”, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 4 (2): 311–348.


–––, 1998b, “Tracing a ghostly memory in my throat: Reflections on Ftm feminist voice and agency”, in Men doing feminism, T. Digby (ed.), New York: Routledge, 99–129.


Heyes, Cressida, 2006, “Changing race, changing sex: The ethics of self-transformation”, Journal of Social Philosophy, 37 (2): 266–282.


Kessler, Suzanne and Wendy McKenna, 2000, “Who put the “trans” in transgender? Gender theory and everyday life”, International Journal of Transgenderism, 4 (3)


Lugones, María, 1987, “Playfulness, ‘world’-travelling, and loving perception”, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 2 (2) 3–19.

Najmabadi, Afsaneh, 2008, “Transing and Transpassing Across Sex-Gender Walls in Iran”, Women Studies Quarterly 36 (3/4) Trans- , P. Currah, L Moore, S. Stryker (eds.), pp. 23-42.

Namaste, Viviane, 2009, “Undoing Theory: The ‘Transgender Question’ and the Epistemic Violence of Anglo-American Feminist Theory”, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 24 (3) 11-32.

Overall, Christine, 2004, “Transsexualism and ‘transracialism’”, Social Philosophy Today, 20 (3): 183-193.

—–, 2009, “Sex/Gender Transitions and Life-Changing Aspirations” in “You’ve Changed”: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity (ed. Laurie Shrage), Oxford University Press, 11-27.

Rubin, Henry, 1998, “Phenomenology as Method in Trans Studies”, GLQ 4 (2), 263-281.

Scheman, Naomi, 1996, “Queering the center by centering the queer: Reflections on transsexuals and secular Jews”, in Feminists rethink the self, Diana Tietjens Meyers (ed.), Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 124–162.

Shotwell, Alexis and Trevor Sangrey, 2009, “Resisting Definition: Gendering through Interaction and Relational Selfhood”; Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 24 (3) 56-76.

Salamon, Gayle, 2009, “The Sexual Schema: Transposition and Transgender in Phenomenology of Perception” in Shrage.

13 Responses to Seminar in Transgender Studies

  1. Evan says:

    This is awesome. Looking forward to following this.


  2. gender scholar says:

    I wish I could take this class in person. Thank you for putting it online.


  3. Pingback: Kurs i Transgender Studies « Queersmotkapitalism

  4. Pingback: Tonight’s class topic: Transphobia |

  5. Pingback: Transgender Seminar tonight’s class topic: Race, Religion, and Culture |

  6. Pingback: videos available |

  7. bitchking says:

    Amazing! Thank you!


    • Bidyananda says:

      By Sarah 2 October, 2008 – 20:16We have unisex totleis in the Maths department. I think its mainly due to a lack of space, but it works well for us. The concept of unisex totleis doesnt worry me, however I agree with Judith (and Claire) about this. I would personally feel uncomfortable. Although many people would value from these totleis, I would worry about men claiming to identify as female (when they don’t) just so that can go into bathrooms with females. I also worry about this the other way round! However, like Claire, I believe Judith worded that better than me.


  8. Pingback: Trans Studies « Angela Chaos’ Bitch Kingdom

  9. Jorge Rafael says:

    Hello! Thank you so much for publishing this seminar online. I am going to write my pHd thesis about transgender studies and this will come in handy. Look foward to contact you soon!! Have a good summer! Jorge


  10. Pingback: Theory Thursday: Transgender Terms and Concepts | Read React Review

  11. Stephanie says:

    I would love to follow this from afar! Thanks so much for posting!


  12. Dan Dumont says:

    So excited!!! Thanks Talia & Susan!!


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