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Transits in text: a comparative analysis of biographies and autobiographies of trans people in Brazil and in the United States

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Luiza Ferreira Lima
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Silvana de Souza Nascimento; Bernardo Fonseca Machado; Amara Rodovalho Fernandes Moreira; Lilia Katri Moritz Schwarcz
Advisor: Silvana de Souza Nascimento

This thesis has as its goal to map, on a comparative perspective, the trajectory of imaginaries and knowledges inscribed in and created by biographies and autobiographies elaborated or planned by trans people and published in Brazil and in the United States. Through decades marked by the pathologization of transsexuality and travestilidade, by the emergence and consolidation of the trans movement, by the increase of visibility in and occupation of spaces historically denied to trans people, by the escalation of political projects aiming to destitute them of their rights and humanity, and by the profusion of artistic and academic productions idealized by them, the frame of meaning of the categories transsexuality, travestilidade and transgender has considerably changed; underlining such process, a constant restructuration of the knowledge production and the literary production regimes took place. Considering the unfolding of such dynamics occurring in distinct ways and rhythms, differentially crossed by social markers of difference in Brazil and In the United States, I posed the question: what is the role of trans auto/biographical writings in such continuous configuration? I intended to answer such question through the mobilization of references from anthropological theory as well as from queer and trans studies, and through the carrying out of documentary research, having as focus of investigation autobiographies and biographies published in both countries between 1967 and 2019 as well as press archives and media outlets with free digital access. Simultaneously, I also submitted the process of writing the travesti activist Fernanda Benvenuttys biography, carried out by her, me, and my supervisor Silvana Nascimento, to an autoethnographic lens. The argument that I sustain, throughout this thesis, is the following: along three generations of trans auto/biographical writing in Brazil and in the United States, the endeavor of rendering oneself and ones trajectory socially intelligible occurred in reaction to hegemonic frameworks of transsexuality, travestilidade and transgender prevailing in public debate. By doing so, authors negotiate, expose, rearrange and defy such frameworks, providing not only counter-discourses regarding trans subjectivities but also other ways of imagining the structuration of time, subjectivation processes narratives, and articulations between fantasy and reality, individual and collective identities, creating and representing, truth and false, masculinities and femininities, among others. In this respect, the inventive exercises of the trans auto/biographical genre take form into networks of subjunctive knowledge, understood here as the birthplace of institutionalized trans studies. Its development occurs in parallel to the academic acknowledgement of this scientific body of work (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/23516-0 - Transits in text: a comparative analysis of biographies and autobiographies of trans people in Brazil and in the United States of America
Grantee:Luiza Ferreira Lima
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate