Gender and Sexuality Studies Professor Eric A. Stanley Co-Edits Arts Anthology

The anthology is co-edited by Eric A. Stanley, assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies.

Eric A. Stanley, an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, recently served as co-editor of “Trap Door: Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility,” an anthology of essays, conversations, and dossiers that explores the double-edged sword of contemporary transgender visibility.

Published in December by the MIT Press, “Trap Door” is the third installment in the New York-based New Museum’s Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture series and functions as a companion piece to the museum’s acclaimed multimedia exhibition “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” for which Stanley was an advisor.  

Working alongside co-editors Reina Gossett, an activist and filmmaker best known for the short film “Happy Birthday, Marsha!” (2017), and Johanna Burton, the museum’s director and curator of education and public engagement, Stanley helped source original writing and transcripts from more than 30 contributors. Their submissions blend elements of art, commentary, and history, weaving a tapestry that assesses the growing visibility of trans communities at a time when trans people are highly susceptible to both heightened violence and the active suppression of their rights under civil law.

“The question of the book is: Does representation necessarily produce material change?” Stanley said. “Or perhaps more precisely: What is the relationship between representation and the contours of the social world?”

With that in mind, the team focused on highlighting multiple tools of cultural production, ranging from pieces more closely associated with traditional fine art to activist flyers, fashion, and protest banners — part of an effort to “to gather up an unruly collection of artists, writers, activists, agitators, and otherwise radical instigators,” according to Stanley. An essay by Grace Dunham about the evolution of trans resistance movements, for example, begins with a discussion of the photographer Alvin Baltrop’s 1970s and ’80s images of queer life at New York’s West Side Piers, and ends with a selection of hand-drawn posters.

“It was a really great process working with Reina and Johanna,” Stanley added of assembling the 400-plus-page tome. “Our collective energy, love for aesthetics, and commitment to the process allowed me to learn so much about the kinds of work people are making.”

‘Footsteps to You – Chattel Slavery’ Exhibit Opens at Rivera Library

Empathy and the power of choice: those are two things that the “Footsteps to You – Chattel Slavery” exhibition hopes to inspire.

“Footsteps to You – Chattel Slavery” opened on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Special Collections and University Archives, located on the fourth floor of Tomás Rivera Library. Curated by Jordan Brown, class of 2019 history major and Mellon Fellow with the Curatorial Studies program at Spelman College, this exhibition will be presented at UC Riverside by the Black Voice Foundation with the Gore Collection.

“There’s a long-standing history with UCR,” said Hardy Brown II, executive director of the Black Voice Foundation. “The Black Voice News was started at UCR 45 years ago,” he added, which is one reason the Black Voice Foundation chose to bring this exhibition to the campus.

A whip and a document are part of the “Footsteps to You – Chattel Slavery” exhibit at the Tomás Rivera Library. ucr

The collection featured in this exhibition was entrusted to the Black Voice Foundation by the Estate of Jerry Gore. Gore was a respected historian who developed a national reputation through his work and personal collection efforts, which focused on the history of enslavement and abolition in the Maysville, Kentucky metropolitan region.

The exhibition showcases primary resources and implements of slavery that date back to the 1800s. Some materials featured tell the story of a group of black and white people who decided that slavery was wrong and worked together to change the system. “The Lincoln-Douglas Debates are highly relevant to the current political climate,” Brown said. “We have the same dialogue going on today.”

Read the full story: “Footsteps to You — Chattel Slavery.”

–Melanie Ramiro

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