- Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Professor, American Culture, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Women’s and Gender Studies, U-M
- David Caron, Professor, French and Women's and Gender Studies, U-M
- Holly Hughes, Professor, Art & Design, Theater and Drama, and Women's and Gender Studies
"Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance," written by Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes and published in 2021 by the University of Michigan Press, focuses on drag and transgender performance and activism in Puerto Rico and its diaspora. Arguing for its political potential, La Fountain-Stokes explores the social and cultural disruptions caused by Latin American and Latinx “locas” (effeminate men, drag queens, transgender performers, and unruly women) and the various forms of violence to which queer individuals in Puerto Rico and the U.S. are subjected. This interdisciplinary, auto-ethnographic, queer-of-color performance studies book explores the lives and work of contemporary performers and activists, television programs, films, and literary works. La Fountain-Stokes, a drag performer himself, demonstrates how each destabilizes (and sometimes reifies) dominant notions of gender and sexuality through drag and their embodied transgender expression. These performances provide a means to explore and critique issues of race, class, poverty, national identity, and migratory displacement while they posit a relationship between audiences and performers that has a ritual-like, communal dimension. The author also pays careful attention to transgender experience, highlighting how trans activists and performers mold their bodies, promote social change, and create community in a context that oscillates between glamour and abjection.
This event is part of IRWG's Gender: New Works, New Questions series, which spotlights recent publications by U-M faculty members and allows for deeper discussion by an interdisciplinary panel.