Racing Intersex: Rethinking Violence and Gendered Medicine in South Africa
Amanda Lock Swarr, University of Washington, ICGC Alumna, 1995 Cohort
Presentation offered from 1-2:30pm as a part of the African Studies Initiative symposium on "Reframing Mass Violence in Africa" and is co-sponsored by the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
Why do South African physicians claim that intersexuality is more common among black South Africans than white South Africans? And how have the parameters of gender been violently inscribed and undermined in medical contexts? This presentation addresses these questions by drawing on fifty years of South African medical scholarship to interrogate the contested parameters of gender and by putting these considerations into conversation with assertions and activism of South Africans who identify as intersex themselves. In so doing, it historicizes contemporary conversations, such as those focused on the mistreatment of Olympian athlete Caster Semenya, and retheorizes gender binaries and gender violence.
Amanda Swarr is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She has published articles in journals including SIGNS and Feminist Studies and is the co-editor of Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis with Professor Richa Nagar. Her monograph, Sex in Transition: Remaking Gender and Race in South Africa, was awarded the Sylvia Rivera Prize in Transgender Studies from CLAGS/CUNY and Honorable Mention for both the Distinguished Book Award (American Sociological Association) and Ruth Benedict Prize (American Anthropological Association). Swarr has collaborated with South African activists since 1997, work continued in her current project, Forcing Sex: Contesting Violent Masculinities in Contemporary South Africa.
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