Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Invisibilia's "Categories" episode

Check out the "Categories" episode of NPR's new podcast, Invisibilia, from Feb. 5th. Here's the link to the podcast's page.

We've been talking a lot about the historical contingency of gender and sexual identity categories in class, and why certain labels might have political, social, and personal appeal at different historical moments. This episode examines this "powerful impulse which is written into people, this urge to clearly differentiate themselves, declare their category," offering insight into the social and psychological forces that make categorizing oneself and others so appealing. 

Starting around seven minutes is a story on Paige Abendroth, an ex-Navy officer who vacillates between genders multiple times per day. It includes interviews with Paige and with neurologists who study this kind of gender "switching." All of this provides interesting insight into the experience of someone who complicates our contemporary understanding of "transgender," her attempts to understand her own experiences  and the responses of medical professionals. 

Also, all the other episodes are super interesting so you should listen to them as well :) 

1 comment:

  1. The increasing need for categorizations, to me, represents two things: the desire to find others who can relate to us and the need for others to understand us. I use us in this term very loosely, but bear with me! It's interesting to see how the categorizations and facets of identity that are marginalized are also the aspects of ourselves that can be the most empowering (i.e. gender, sexuality, and race) once we have the language and knowledge to understand how it all fits together.