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Philosophy Discussion Club: Perry Zurn, Society Fellow

Friday, March 15, 2024 at 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Rockefeller Hall, 132
Central Campus

Perry Zurn, Society Fellow

Title: Cisgender: What is it? What is it Not? 

Abstract: Over the last thirty years, the term “cisgender” (or “cis” for short) has come to refer to the category of all non-trans people and all non-trans gender experiences. Trans people are taken to have genders that in some way transition—thereby resisting existing gender norms. Cis people are taken to have genders that do not in any way transition—thereby acquiescing to existing gender norms. This cis/trans binary is ultimately an untenable one, however. In this talk, I argue that “cis” is unsuccessful as a discrete gender category and gender phenomenology, as shown by specific limit cases. Nevertheless, I also argue that “cis” is successful as a gender norm of dimorphism produced and policed by various social structures and institutions. Its usefulness as a concept is a matter of scale and complexity.  

Discussion Club is a lecture series hosted by the Sage School of Philosophy

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Cornell University

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