Confirmation of Candidature Seminar: Digital Networks & The Trans Image
A multimodal ethnography of Transgender Activist Kalki Subramanim and The Sahodari Foundation in India.
Kalki Subramaniam is an elegant and articulate transgender activist and visual artist working in South India. She and her work are examples of the striking visibility of the transgender figure in recent popular culture that contributes to disrupting the organising principles of gender. Subramaniam forms part of a globalised emergent transgender activism employing images of the transgender body to shape a new politically charged “visuality”. This ‘trans’ movement represents a challenge to the politics of inclusion and exclusion that surrounds the normative function of gender categories; it invites a reformation of the ways we seek to contain identities. This research will participate in this process through an ethnographic examination of the image making practices at the centre of transgender activism. It will employ a multimodal, multi-sited ethnographic method to study Kalki Subramaniam and The Sahodari Foundation in India. From this vantage point it will consider how the potentiality of the ‘trans’ movement might also create new possibilities for the ontologies of the image.
Primary Advisor: Associate Professor Jennifer Deger
Secondary Advisor: Professor Ton Otto
Independent Academic: Dr Steven Campbell
Chair: Professor Rosita Henr