Judith Butler and transGENRE (ha)

Just playing with labels and trying to understand the fluidity of the less than fixed disciplines within the academy, within the arts.

I don’t care for the term interdisciplinary. It is too loose, too overused and misused. It also infers a dividedness. An interdisciplinary artist would appear to dip her toe in discrete finite disciplinary pools; but this seems not quit accurate. Artists, the list to numerous to list, that are prolific in production, persistent in practice through life, and are known not just locally but more globally, tend to have a transgenre practice (even if what is publicly presented is mongenred). Like life and practice, domain lines become blurry in their fictions.

In terms of unpacking of Butlerian notions of the constitutive nature of gender, I translated interdisciplarity as a kind of transgenre practice. So I co-related Butler’s transgender and troubling to transGENRE creative practices.

TRANSGENRE [stolen and morphed from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender]

  1. Of, relating to, or designating a practice whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of genre or disciplinary roles, but combines or moves between these.
  2. Practices who were assigned a disciplinary genre, usually at birth and based on their physiological neural activation, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.
  3. Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the genre (and assumed genre) one was assigned at birth.
  4. A transgenre practitioners may have characteristics that are normally associated with a particular disciplinary practices yet identify elsewhere on the traditional genre continuum, or exist outside of it as other, agenre, genre-neutral, genrequeer, non-binary, third genre, etc. Transgenre practices may also align with bigenre, pangenre, or along several places on either the traditional transgenre continuum or the more encompassing continuums that have been developed in response to recent, significantly more detailed studies.
  5. Furthermore, many transgenre practitioners experience a period of identity development that includes better understanding one’s self-image, self-reflection, and self-expression. More specifically, the degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic, and comfortable within their creative practices and accept their genuine identity is referred to as transgenre congruence


Of course once I finished this play, I went to google only to discover the usual, transgenre is not a new notion. Of course I knew this would be so for even Plato (and Bart Simpson) thunk (!) all my thoughts before me.

I found Alexander Refsum Jensenius unpacking of the differences within disciplinary labels and providing a nice little visual

interdisciplinary —>  multidisciplinary —> Cross disciplinary —>  interdisciplinary —> transdisciplinary 



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