Mary Ann Saunders’ research has investigated the representation of transgender adults and children in fiction and medical writing, with a particular focus on the ways that Cold War ideologies of gender continue to inform western understandings of gender diversity. She is currently in the early stages of research which will investigate how the childhood reading of transgender people shapes their experience of gender in childhood and adulthood. Her cross-disciplinary work is positioned not only in relation to traditional disciplines such as literary studies, medicine, psychology, sociology and history, but also in relation to emerging disciplines such as transgender studies and children’s studies. This cross-disciplinary approach informs Mary Ann’s teaching in WRDS 150.

WRDS 150 Research Area: Transgender Studies

Transgender Studies

We will focus on transgender studies, a multidisciplinary research field which investigates the increasing visibility and importance of transgender people in contemporary culture. A fundamental premise of trans studies is that ethical research in this area must be attentive to and prioritize the voices and knowledge which trans people have about themselves and their experience. We will, therefore, cultivate such an attentiveness in our course. By studying trans research representing several academic disciplines you will develop a sense of how different disciplines approach this research area, and then apply this knowledge to research and writing projects of your own. What do trans people say about themselves and their lives? How can you, as apprentice researchers, ethically translate that lived experience into research scholarship of your own?