Trans Necrointimacies: Affect, Race, and the Chalky Geopolitics of Trans Memorialization
Bhanji, Nael Nasir
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This dissertation explores the centrality of racialized trans death in structuring whiteness as emblematic of contemporary trans(normative) life. Taking my point of departure from the chalk outlines of dead bodies that frequently appear during rituals of trans memorialization, I analyze how the circulation of necropolitical affects coheres a form of trans-homonationalism within the Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Held annually, TDOR events are global vigils that publicly mourn the victims of anti-trans violence. By analyzing narratives about trans-identified people of colour who have been memorialized by TDOR, I place the affective circulations of racialized, necropolitical violencea phenomenon I have termed trans necrointimaciesin conversation with TDOR to illustrate how racial decay is central to the securitization of both whiteness and trans homonationalism within the nation-state. Through participant observation at TDOR vigils in Toronto and New York, interviews with trans people of colour, and content-analysis of the TDOR website, this research highlights complex ways in which practices of trans memorialization circulate trans necrointimacies in the service of transnormative narratives of affective belonging within the nation-state. Tracing the affective worldings that occur through the spectacularization and consumption of ordinary racialized trans death, this dissertation seeks to animate the seemingly disparate narratives of counter-terrorism and trans politics, the trans body and the terrorist body, and vigilant reactions and the vigil that re-acts ordinary violences.