Critical Trans Politics and the Shortcomings of Law Reform

A lecture by Dean Spade
April 7, Wednesday
6 to 8 PM

Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law; Founder, Sylvia Rivera Law Project
As critical trans politics continues to emerge and develop, there is an increasingly vocal demand for trans political formations to center racial and economic justice and respond to crises facing trans populations, such as criminalization and immigration enforcement, that have often been marginalized in a employment discrimination/family recognition-focused “LGBT rights” framework. This critical trans politics is often openly opposed to the legal reforms that dominate the most visible trans political schemes, such as the push to include “gender identity or expression” in hate crimes statutes. This lecture examines how we might take up the challenge of these critical interventions, recognizing the limits of formal legal equality demands, while still engaging with certain legal reform strategies. Specifically, the lecture will examine whether Foucault’s description of laws as tactics in the context of governmentality might be helpful to understanding and strategizing the role of law reform in social movements that understand formal legal equality to be a feature of neoliberalism that masks or even contributes to disparity.
Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

For more information about this event, please call Social and Cultural Analysis at 212-992-9650.