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Recent archival research investigates both the bodies which are understood, recognised and cared for by the archive whilst also accentuating the absence of those deemed in excess, that are ‘too much,’ that spill over - that agitate; what Jackie Orr refers to as ’the rattling buried bones,’ (2006). Specifically I think of the interweaving of critical race, queer feminist and crip theories which destabilise what knowledge gets to count and by whom, for as critical praxis all of these errant positions have long found ways to live with communities and tools that were not built for them. (Ahmed 2018; Cho, 2008; Hartman, 2008, 2019; McRuer 2006; Sharpe, 2016)

Thinking with the idea of ‘queer agitation’ — as an act of performative suspension, internalised (dis)quiet and political refusal — I aim to consider the alternative means available for keeping a record of transgender presence, our shared intimacy through the now out of print, ‘Original Plumbing’ a San Francisco based publication dedicated to trans masculine culture that ran issues between 2009-2019.

How do this publications represent this ‘trans*-undercommons’ and allow us to consider storytelling and intimate haptic knowledges as integral to a sense of trans*cestry that otherwise does not enter the institutional record? With the end of Original Plumbing publications, how could we imagine other means of transmitting this knowledge to future trans* generations looking for their own trans*cestoral histories? In what ways can we mobilise ‘trans*-’ as a means of crossing, a vaulting of the ‘tangled crosshatch’ (Schneider 2018) of temporal and spatial linearity and a sidestep into its potential of world building design?

Seminar presented as part of the Gender and Sexuality Research Network Summer Series, University of Reading. Promotional material can be found here

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