Trans-Affirming Pedagogies Symposium

Friday, March 31, 2023 - 10:00am to 4:30pm

ARCH building Rm 108, 3601 Locust Walk

This location is ADA accessible


This symposium is part of broader efforts at FQT/GSWS to help departments imagine what trans inclusive pedagogies can look like in their respective fields while positioning gender-affirming pedagogies as co-constituted with anti-racist methodologies, accessible course design, and other intersectional approaches in the classroom. This event is made possible by support from the Office of the Provost’s Excellence Through Diversity Fund and in partnership with the LGBT Center and Penn Engineering. Register to attend. This event is open to the public. Non-Penncard holders will need to use the intercom to gain entry to the building. 


Tentative Schedule

10:00-10:30am – Light breakfast 

10:30-10:45am – Introductions, Maria Murphy, University of Pennsylvania

                           Opening remarks, Dani Smith, University of Pennsylvania

10:45-12:00pm – Panel 1, moderated by Beans Velocci, University of Pennsylvania

·         Ava Kim, University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign

·         Cat Dawson, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

12:00-1:00pm – Lunch 

1:00-2:30pm – Panel 2, moderated by Davy Knittle, University of Delaware

·         Perry Zurn, American University

·         Che Gossett, Columbia University

·         Francisco Galarte, University of New Mexico

2:30-3:00pm – Coffee break

3:00-4:15pm – Panel 3, moderated by Dani Smith, University of Pennsylvania

·         Ash Zemenick, University of California - Berkeley

·         C. Riley Snorton, University of Chicago

4:15-4:30pm – Closing remarks by Melissa Sanchez, University of Pennsylvania 

4:30pm – Reception


About the speakers: 

Ava L.J. Kim is the 2022-2023 Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Associate in Transgender Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In July of 2023, she will begin an appointment as Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of California, Davis. Ava completed her PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in Creative Writing at Macalester College. Her work can be found in the journal, American Studies, and is forthcoming in TSQ.

Ava is a co-founder and co-coordinator of the Trans Literacy Project. She previously served as the Graduate Coordinator of the Mellon Mays Fellowship program at Bryn Mawr College, co-coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Reading Group, co-director of the Queer Urgencies Conference, and SASgov (School of Arts and Sciences Government) Representative. Her previous work experience includes managing national funds for supportive housing at Community Solutions and as an API People's Solidarity Organizer at the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) in New York City. 

C. Riley Snorton, Professor of English Language and Literature, is jointly appointed in the department and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies. Snorton is a cultural theorist who focuses on racial, sexual and transgender histories and cultural productions. He is the author of Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), winner of the John Boswell Prize from the American Historical Association, the William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction, the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and an honorable mention from the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award Committee. Snorton is also the co-editor of Saturation: Race, Art and the Circulation of Value (MIT Press/New Museum, 2020).

Che Gossett is a Black non binary femme writer and critical theorist specializing in queer/trans studies, aesthetic theory, abolitionist thought and black study. They received their doctorate in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University, New Brunswick in May 2021. They received a BA in African American Studies from Morehouse College, an MAT in Social Studies from Brown University, an MA in History from the University of Pennsylvania and were a 2019-2020 Helena Rubenstein Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Che is currently the Racial Justice Postdoctoral Scholar with the Initiative for a Just Society at Columbia Law School.

Che recently received a Ruth Stephan Fellowship from Beinecke Library at Yale University for the summer of 2022. Che will also be a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School's Animal Law and Policy Program for the fall 2022 semester.  Spring semester 2023 they will be spending time at Oxford University, as a visiting fellow at  the Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson College and the Rothermere American Institute, as well as the Centre for Visual Culture at the University of Cambridge.

Perry Zurn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at American University, and affiliate faculty in the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies. Zurn will be a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University ('23-'24) and a visiting scholar at The Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania ('23-'25). He researches primarily in political philosophy, critical theory, and transgender studies, and collaborates in psychology and network neuroscience. He is the author of Curiosity and Power: The Politics of Inquiry (2021) and the co-author of Curious Minds: The Power of Connection (MIT Press, 2022). He is also the co-editor of Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition (2016), Carceral Notebooks 12 (2017), Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge (2020), and Intolerable: Writings from Michel Foucault and the Prisons Information Group, 1970-1980 (2021). He is currently at work on a new monograph, How We Make Each Other: Trans Poetics at the Edge of the University (under contract, Duke University Press) and co-editing Trans Philosophy: Meaning and Mattering (under review).

Cat Dawson’s research investigates the social construction of subjectivity through queer, feminist, and anti-racist representational strategies in postmodern and contemporary American culture. Their current book, Monumental Futures, investigates the conditions of memorialization in and beyond colonial representational economies by indexing responses by Black, Indigenous, and queer artists to the afterlives and effects of settler colonialism and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. A subsequent book, Queer Photography and its Metaphors, queries the emergence of queer and trans representational strategies, and investigates the profound impact those strategies have had both within and beyond the medium of photography. They have taught courses on the Study of Women and Gender and the History of Art at Smith College and the University at Buffalo, and have peer-reviewed articles forthcoming in Art and the Public Sphere Journal (2021) and Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture (2022). They hold a BA in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College (2008) and a PhD in Visual Studies from the University at Buffalo (2018), and are a member of the College Art Association and the National Women’s Studies Association.

Francisco J. Galarte is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of New Mexico where he teaches courses in Chicanx, Latinx and transgender studies. He was born and raised in Brawley, California located in the Imperial Valley along the US/Mexico Border and identifies strongly as a transfronterizo, meaning that the borderlands inform his creative and scholarly projects.  His most recent articles have appeared in publications including Aztlan: Journal of Chicano Studies, Chicana/Latina Studies Journal and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.  He holds a PhD in Educational Policy Studies with a minor in Latina and Latino Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. Before arriving to the University of New Mexico, he was an assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona.  While at the University of Arizona he was a member of the Transgender Studies Research Cluster (TSRC) at the University of Arizona, a collective of faculty that is the first of its kind in the world, that brings together scholars in Transgender Studies from various disciplinary backgrounds to foster cross collaboration in the form of research, writing and teaching. 

Ash Zemenick earned a doctorate in ecology at UC Davis, then took a postdoctoral fellowship at Auburn University. There, Zemenick researched the importance of diversifying and humanizing scientist role models on student outcomes. At a concurrent postdoctoral fellowship at Michigan State University, Zemenick helped create and direct Project Biodiversify, a repository of teaching materials and methods to diversify, humanize, and increase inclusivity in biology classrooms. Part of this effort includes holding workshops for instructors to learn about inclusive teaching methods, particularly for subjects related to the biology of sex and gender. They also managed a mobile plant nursery in Sacramento that assists people seeking to incorporate native plants into their landscaping.

Today, Zemenick’s varied interests include ecology and environmental science involving plants, insects, microbes, ecological networks, natural history, and discipline-based education research. They look forward to spending time in naturalizing, backpacking, climbing, and biking in their new mountain home.