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Trans Desire/Affective Cyborgs

2010

Paperback, 150 pages

ISBN 0982530994

ISBN-13 9780982530993

Trans Desire explores the ramifications of using desire as the basis for contemporary political movements rooted in a struggle for autonomy, from the perspective of a transgender person about to begin hormone replacement therapy. It examines the affinities between psychoanalytic theories of desire, queer theory and biopolitics, using the work of theorists including Avital Ronell, Giorgio Agamben and Judith Butler. Trans Desire proposes that radical queer porn is an example of world building that effectively resists biopower without turning to former movements' demands for rights and legislative reforms.


Affective Cyborgs is framed as a necessary departure from Donna Haraway's cyborg. Appropriated from the complex sexual politics of BDSM culture, the figure of the "switch" is proposed as a new possibility for conceptualizing agency in our encounters with technology. A doubling of the cyborg body, the switch locates the liminal space in which the binary of dominance and submission may be explored as a contextual and meshed embodiment of contingency, materialized via affective decision. This framing suggests new directions for feminist philosophies of technology.

From the back cover:

Micha Cárdenas takes apart the terms and implicit contract binding the project of "Master Thesis." What is it to master an object of inquiry that resists boundary control or conceptual arrest? How does one pursue a thesis when genre and gender assignments are continually destabilized? Situated between soft rant and manifesto, between autobiographeme and scholarship, between single and double authorship, _Trans Desire_ bravely faces down the quirky habits of our bildopedic culture, reformatting the very conditions of institutional submission. 

- Avital Ronell 

In this powerful meta-account of transgressive embodiments and desires, Cárdenas enunciates a rousing, theoretically complex and practically explicit politic of resistance which will resonate with scholar and layperson alike. 

- Allucquére Rosanne Stone 

In Trans Desire, Micha Cárdenas offers a moving and provocative exploration of transgender desire, its limits, and its potential for biopolitical resistance. At an intersection of poetics and theory, Cárdenas embraces a queer ethico-politics devoted to radically challenging not only heteronormativity but the oppressive power of Empire more broadly. 

- Diane Davis


About the authors:

Micha Cárdenas [transreal.org] is an artist/theorist and a PhD Student in Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California. She received her MA in Communication at the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland and her MFA from UCSD.

Barbara Fornssler is a PhD student at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and a writer whose research interests include the body and technology, multimodal communication, and philosophies of gender.

Customer Reviews:

  • A Transformative Dynamic Piece About Experience

    Trans Desire/ Affective Cyborgs is a eloquent piece of queer literature. Micha Cardenas is a brillant author/ artist/ speaker. She fluidly articulates the place where theory, art, and politics intertwine and then make love to a beautiful transgender experience. This book is a must read for everyone interested in sex, art, and politics. Get ready to have your paradigm shifted.
    source: Amazon, by user: A1SXYP6Q9MG3EC
  • Brilliant

    This book is an important contribution to contemporary theory at the intersections of transgender experience, politics and networked art practices. Full of personal experiences of queer desire and political actions, this book needs to be read by anyone thinking about these issues.
    source: Amazon, by user: A174LI11YB8191
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