Dual Selves and Augmented Embodiment: Reflections on Late Twentieth-Century Trans* Medicine and Culture

Presented by: Dr Karin Sellberg

Date: Monday 29 May
Time: 12-1pm
Location: Online via zoom and in-person at the SCA Writer's Studio (Level 6, Michie Building). 


Abstract

On a cold day in April in 1974, a group of 12 heterosexual transvestites met in a small Stockholm apartment to participate in a workshop with makeup artist Olly Grün, where they learnt how to apply makeup ‘correctly’; in a way that feminised appearance, rather than exaggerated difference. This makeup tutorial was the first of a series of similar events, organised in collaboration between the makeup manufacturer Ellen Betrix, sexology researchers at Uppsala University, and the Scandinavian trans organisation FPE-S, Full Personality Expression Sweden. The emphasis on appearance in the negotiation of gender roles and the development of healthy gender identities was common in mid- to late twentieth-century sexology, and the self-identified male-to-female transvestites in FPE-S participated in a range of research projects involving the outward and inward construction of femininity.

This paper is part of a larger auto-ethnographic study of a trans* community I grew up in. I will explore the ways in which social and political interaction, commercial enterprise, and scientific research came together to construct an evolving understanding of transgender identity and discourses surrounding gender and sexuality in Scandinavia in the 1970s and 80s, particularly focusing on the emergence of what Swedish sexologist Sam Larson refers to as a ‘dual self’, through controlled application of makeup, minor body modification like hair removal, and classical feminine dress. I will position these Scandinavian research projects in relation to seminal Anglo-American sexology at the time, and contemplate the extent to which the social structures of organisations like FPE-S shaped experiences of gendered bodies and minds. 


Presenter

Karin Sellberg is a Lecturer in Humanities at the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry.  She is primarily a literary scholar with research interests in medical history, feminist philosophy, gender studies and queer theory. Her publications include two books; Gender: Time (Macmillan, 2018); Corporeality and Culture (Ashgate, 2014), five journal special issues, and a forthcoming book on transgender narratives of self and embodiment.


 

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series

 


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 23 Febraury
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

The Szondi Test: Mimetic Desire and the Media of PsychiatryDr Grant Bollmer

Friday, 23 Febraury
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Adaptation, Narrative and Rites of PassageAdjunct Professor Michael Eaton

Friday, 12 April
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A Wrench in the Works of the Dream Factory: Special/Visual Effects in the Hollywood Studio Era, 1915-1965Prof. Julie Turnock

Tuesday, 23 April
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

An artistic path between art and science: Vulcano, Fata Morgana, and Min Min Light

Maria Leonardo Cabrita

Monday, 24 June
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Mapping Climate Change through a macrocosm – a UNESCO-Tagged World Heritage Site in IndiaA/Prof Deepti Ganapathy

 

Venue

Online via Zoom and in-person at the SCA Writer's Studio (Level 6, Michie Building)