GSWS Graduate Colloquium with Nat Rivkin (English) and Liz Rose (Comparative Literature)

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

FBH 345

This location is ADA accessible

Nat Rivkin
‘as a rond of flesche yschore’: The King of Tars, Race, and Trans Childhood
Born to a princess “As white as fether of swan” and a sultan “that blac and lothelywas,” the child at the heart of the fourteenth-century romance The King of Tars lacks the anatomical features typically used to assign sex (12, 922). This figure, which medieval writers call a monstrous birth, appears “as a rond of flescheyschore / … withouten blood and bone” (577–79). The princess and the sultan engage in a competition: whose deity can revive the child? The princess insists that a Christian god can make the infant “fourmed after a man / with liif and limes aright” (689–90). The child’s baptism does return him to life, and it genders him after a man “with limes al hole and fere” (703). Stunned by his son’s miraculous transformation, the sultan converts as well, and he too “Al white bicom thurthGodes gras / And clerewithouten blame” (923–24). In this paper, I situate the monstrous birth in The King of Tars in relation to Jules Gill-Peterson's account of the “racial normativity” of trans childhood (101).Whether they are missing a life or a limb, monstrous births expose the embryonic makings of gender and race in the late Middle Ages.

Liz Rose
In Excess of Empire: Black Feminist Mothering and Trans Temporalities in Intergalactic Travels: Poems from a Fugitive Alien by Alan Pelaez Lopez
Through their multimedia, multi-genre work Intergalactic Travels: Poems from a Fugitive Alien (2020), Alan Pelaez Lopez crafts poetic remembering across an experience of un/documentation that dismantles the linear progress narrative of the immigrant figure. While their work is often situated in conversation with Latinx culture and undocuactivism, I argue that Intergalactic Travels also finds resonance with Black feminist theorizing. By thinking alongside Alexis Pauline Gumbs, I show how her work on revolutionary mothering can further an understanding of Black creative praxis central to the temporalities of Intergalactic Travels. Revolutionary mothering, understood as radical care work, enables fugitive maneuvers throughout the poetic project, and moves Alan Pelaez Lopez’ poetics away from meditations on abjection and the question of legality and toward Black feminist world making.