Rogers Brubaker's latest book is Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities. From his Q&A with Debra Liese at the Princeton University Press blog:
This book has taken you into new territory. What drew you to the subject?--Marshal Zeringue
RB: In the summer of 2015 I became fascinated by the intertwined debates about whether Caitlyn Jenner could legitimately identify as a woman and Rachel Dolezal as black. The debates were dominated by efforts to validate or invalidate the identities claimed by Jenner and Dolezal. But at the same time they raised deeper questions about the similarities and differences between gender and race in an age of massively unsettled identities. I had planned to spend the summer months working on a completely different project, but this “trans moment” afforded a unique opportunity to think systematically about sex and gender in relation to race and ethnicity as embodied identities that are increasingly – yet in differing ways and to differing degrees – understood as open to choice and change.
You begin with the pairing of “transgender” and “transracial” in the debates about Jenner and Dolezal. One common trope in the debates was that transracial is “not a thing.” Do you disagree?
RB: Of course transracial is not a “thing” in the same sense as transgender: there’s...[read on]