Postdoctoral Fellow, Trans Oral History Project


Office Location

345 Fisher-Bennett Hall

Dr. Eva Pensis is a multidisciplinary artist and scholar whose work explores the contours and legacies of trans femme life and art within popular culture, nightlife economies, entertainment and performance industries. Her current book project approaches a performance history of lipsyncing (the record act) within queer nightlife by way of unearthing and attending to a counterhistory of transmisogyny and erotophobia within gay drag scenes and queer studies as a disciplinary formation. Two central claims that animate this book project involve the deidealization of queer nightlife (routinely deployed as a utopian space for trans life and performance “beyond” the conscription of everyday violence) as well as a commitment to studying the convergence of queer studies, queer of color critique, and feminist studies in attempting to form a politics around sex that deemphasized its economic labor market conditions (sex work)–conditions that are unevenly shared among marginalized women of cis and trans experience within the erotic industries.

Her writing has been featured in e-Flux, Los Angeles Review of Books, Ruckus, SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. As a nightlife organizer and performer, Eva co-founded a trans equity arts alliance that featured an all-trans cast that raised funds for mutual aid for trans artist-performers of color and the Griffin-Gracy Educational and Historical Center.

Eva is a pole instructor, artist, pianist, and community archivist. She holds a PhD in Music (Ethnomusicology) and in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of Chicago as well as a BM in Piano Performance from University of Southern California. She is currently the postdoctoral fellow with the Trans Oral History Project at the University of Pennsylvania.