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Transgender history workshop with Ann Heilmann (Cardiff)

14th June 2016 @ 14:00 - 17:00


Transgender: Cultural and historical developments and the “case” of James Miranda Barry
Ann Heilmann (Cardiff)
This event is part of the Emergenc(i)es Festival, Bristol

Abstract: This workshop considers the contemporary interest in transgender issues in relation to historical developments. It will explore how have perceptions and understandings of gender, sex and sexuality developed; how have they differed over time and across different cultures? Is it important or helpful to distinguish between gender and sex?

The second half of the workshop will outline the history of the ‘discovery’ of transgender. An overview of 19th and early 20th-century sexology will lead to consideration of two historical transgender personalities, the 18th-century Chevalier D’Eon and the 19th-century James MirandaBarry. The talk will provide a more detailed account of Barry. A prominent medical and humanitarian reformer of the early to mid-19th century, Barry was an army surgeon who, as Inspector General, attained the highest rank in the medical branch of the British military, and one of the first doctors in the world to conduct a successful Caesarian section. After his death in 1865 it was claimed that he had been a woman. (Evidence of his female birth identity was discovered in the 1980s.) The talk will review the way in which Barry has been constructed in biographies, novels and drama.

Bio: Ann Heilmann is Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University. She teaches, and has published widely on, Victorian and turn-of-the-century feminism, contemporary neo-Victorianism, and gender and women’s writing from the Victorian to the 21st century period. She is currently working on a book on the topic on which she is running the workshop, on the 19th-century transgender figure James Miranda Barry and Barry’s representation in Victorian and neo-Victorian biographies, biofictions and biodrama. (For further information see Ann’s staff page).


14th June 2016
14:00 - 17:00
Event Categories:
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Emergenc(i)es Bristol
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Trinity Centre
Trinity Road
Bristol, BS2 0NW United Kingdom
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0117 935 1200
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