Bringing Theory to Life

September 20, 2019

New Trent professor brings a timely understanding of how theory relates to contemporary issues impacting LGBTQ communities

Dr. Nael Bhanji

When people decide to rally behind causes related to negative news headlines, how do we tread a careful line between building community and commodifying the tragedy impacting the lives of others? Students in Trent’s Gender and Women’s Studies program will be able to explore this question, and many others, with instruction from a new faculty member – a thought-leader in critical race and trans theories.

Dr. Nael Bhanji, who recently joined the department for the fall term, will bring his unique research on psychoanalysis and the exploration of racialization, counter-terrorism and necropolitics in practices of trans memorialization into the classroom.

What is necropolitics? In a nutshell, necropolitics is a critical examination of the ways in which contemporary life is shaped through the circulation or consumption of death and disposability. For Prof. Bhanji, the ways that trans bodies, particularly racialized trans bodies, are commodified is as much a political journey as it is a deeply personal one. As an undergraduate student, Prof. Bhanji attended his first Trans Day of Remembrance, and found his body represented a particularly valuable commodity for political organization. This sparked an academic journey as a researcher and educator, with works that have been included in Transgender Migrations: The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition and  The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigeneity at Canadian Universities, 

Prof. Bhanji is currently working on his monograph entitled, ““Necrointimacies: Race and the Chalky Affects of Memorialization,” which analyzes the affective value of queer and trans racialized death in structuring political life. He is excited to get engaged in the Trent community as well as the wider community in the City of Peterborough, in a variety of ways including community research projects and helping students to bring theory to life.

When asked to describe his teaching style, Prof. Bhanji explained, “I challenge students to go deep into the theory. Learn the theory, know the theory well, and go beyond it.”

First-year students will be able to experience Prof. Bhanji’s insightful expertise and teaching style first-hand as they explore gender, sex and bodies in relation to contemporary challenges facing the world in “Gender Matters: Issues & Contexts” in the winter term. In the fall term, second-year students can explore transnational feminism in “Transnational Feminisms: Texts & Theories.”