Dean Spade, "Critical Trans Politics, Violence and Law" R. Jean Brownlee Lecture in Sexuality Studies

Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 1:30pm

Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall

Please note: this location is not ADA accessible.

Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall


Critical Trans Politics, Violence, and Law
Dean Spade
, Associate Professor of Law, Seattle University

 Dean Spade photo

Is changing the law the best way to make things better for marginalized groups? Has anti-discrimination law effectively addressed racism, sexism, and ablism over the last decades? How do we account for stagnating wages, a growing wealth gap, drastic expansions of criminalization and immigration enforcement in the national story that we've all become equal under the law in recent decades? Dean uses critical race theory, women of color feminism, and other intellectual traditions to analyze the role of law reform in contemporary queer and trans politics. He examines the poverty, violence, criminalization and immigration enforcement facing trans populations, and questions the utility of anti-discrimination law and hate crimes laws for addressing these harms. He proposes that a critical trans politics is emerging that rejects law reform as a goal and engages tactically with legal work as it attempts to dismantle apparatuses of racialized-gendered violence like prisons and borders and build alternative structures that meaningfully address contemporary conditions of poverty and violence.



Dean Spade is Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law. Spade has taught classes on sexual orientation, gender identity, poverty and law at the City University of New York (CUNY), Seattle University, Columbia University, and Harvard University. In 2002 he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a collective that provides free legal services and works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice. Spade is the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law (South End Press, 2011).