Blog #2: Undergraduate Research

At this point in my research I have looked at the texts “Transforming Feminism: Trans Feminists Speak Out,” “Trans Bodies Trans Selves,” and “Transgender History.” These books have given me basic insight into how transgender people are discussed in both feminist discourse and transgender specific spaces. They have not yet given me clear lines between feminist perspectives I wish to analyze, but they have pointed to a lot of perspectives in the modern day around transgender issues.

“Transforming Feminism: Trans Feminists Speak Out” is a Canadian text, and my research focus is transgender identities and feminism in the United States. In order to solve this problem, my faculty advisor and I decided to focus on the sections of the text which are applicable across national boundaries. One example of transnational topics include how resources for survivors of sexual assault and rape are used in relation to transgender survivors.

“Trans Bodies Trans Selves” has given me insight on how issues of gender intersect with issues of race, immigration status, and class. This text will be helpful for analyzing how trans issues fit into the future of feminism.

“Transgender History” adresses how discussions around transgender issues have evolved in the United States. A lot of the information from this text will be used to differentiate feminist perspectives both over time and by ideology.

Throughout the research process, I have found new questions to look into more closely during winter intersession as I finalize my research. One problem I have had to grapple with is how broad my research can get, and Rachel Simmon has helped me ensure I am not just reading this for the sake of completion if they won’t be helpful to the final paper. Rachel has also helped me use on campus resources to better my research process. Pace University Librarian Sarah Burns-Feyl has guided me to a number of resources I have accessed through the library.   


Blog Post 1 Undergraduate Research

Purpose, Goals, and Objectives

In our research project “Feminist Perspectives on Transgender Identity” we will explore how different feminist ideologies address the issue of transgender and gender nonconforming identities. The objective of this research paper will be to explore how varied Feminist philosophies and perspectives address the issues of transgender identities, the ways in which feminist beliefs inform those views, cultural and historical context for trans exclusion, and the value of transgender inclusion in feminist movements.

Research questions:

  1. What are the primary feminist perspectives?
  2. What do these perspectives have to say about transgender identities?
  3. What is the impact of these perspectives both on feminism and transgender people?
  4. How does one identify if trans-inclusivity is present in the feminist framework?
  5. How is trans-inclusivity important to the future of feminist movements?

What you expect to achieve or learn:

            During the course of researching this project I am hoping to learn about how transgender lives and identities have been viewed throughout US history. I want to examine the influence on feminist movements from trans identities and historical and cultural contexts. Through this project I hope to help individuals understand how feminist thought around transgender people is a deeply varied, even if the end result of those beliefs is similar. Looking at different inclusive feminist frameworks will allow me to understand varied philosophies (Marxist feminism, materialist, intersectional, etc.) come to common conclusions from diverse starting points.

Research Methods:

In order to answer the research questions, we will perform a combination of historical and document based analysis. We will first examine the historical contexts in the United States under which topics and conceptions of gender and gender identity have evolved over time. We will look at texts, studies, and other documents to analyze feminist perspectives on issues of transgender identity at the time, and how these were expressed. Using the information gathered through this research we will then apply it to contemporary feminist thought, and hopefully come up with a conclusion on the role of trans-inclusivity in the future of feminist movements.