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Transgender History

Although the word "transgender" has only existed since the 1990s, gender-variant people and communities have always existed. In this course, we will investigate the broadly understood transgender past, asking questions about how people understood gender in the past and how the contemporary category of "transgender" emerged out of medical discourses, political activism, and broad cultural change. We will also investigate local sources for writing transgender history, including sources available in Northwestern Special Collections, the Gerber-Hart Archives in Rogers Park, and the Digital Transgender Archive. No prior experience in either gender theory or in historical research is assumed. Back to top