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Presented By: Center for Southeast Asian Studies

CSEAS Lecture Series. Pedagogies of Transfemininity in the Spanish Colonial Philippines 1589-1864

Jaya Jacobo, Assistant Professor of Gender, Equality, and Diversity, Institute of Education, Coventry University

In this talk, Jaya Jacobo narrates and describes the simultaneous disavowal and affirmation of transfemininity in the Spanish colonial Philippines within the apparatus of colonial cisheteropatriarchy by looking at narratives which mark out the emergence of the transfeminine in Catholic religious discourse and its catechetical project of conversion.

In particular, Jacobo reads the instrumentalization of transfeminine divinity against the establishment of imperial priesthood in chronicles written by Spanish friars as they document the evangelization of the islands. What emerges in these chronicles is the pedagogical value of the transfeminine priest/trans priestess as a recalcitrant body gaining the ideal subjectivity of a “rectified heathen.” To triangulate the discursive formation of the transfeminine as an aberrant body rectifying its own inclinations as well as resisting the force of interdictions, Jacobo turns to lexicons and grammars through the colonial centuries, ending with an analysis of the figuration of cisgenderhood and the concomitant recession of trans possibility in the didactics of a significant Tagalog novel of manners in the late nineteenth century.

Jaya Jacobo is Assistant Professor of Gender, Equality and Diversity at the Institute of Education of Coventry University, United Kingdom. She was previously Postdoctoral Fellow of the Philippine Work Package of the GlobaLGRACE Genders and Cultures of Equality Programme at the University of the Philippines, which enabled her to work alongside travesti and transsexual women artists, academics and activists in Brazil. She is a founding co-editor of Queer Southeast Asia: A Transgressive Journal of Literary Art and a member of the board of trustees of the Society of Trans Women of the Philippines.

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March 18, 2022 (Friday) 12:00pm

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