professor of gender and sexuality studies wins a scholarship to the National Center for Human Sciences | Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine

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Emmanuel David will use the grant to explore a little-known performance tour by Christine Jorgensen, a pioneer of the transgender movement, across Asia and the Pacific in the 1960s.


A University of Colorado Boulder professor is one of this year’s National Humanities Center fellows, the organization recently announced.

Emmanuel David, an associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, is one of 33 fellows chosen. This opportunity offers scholars the chance to pursue an individual research project, which for David will be a book project titled “Trans-American Orientalism: The Asia-Pacific Encounters of Transgender Pioneer Christine Jorgensen, 1961–1969.”

Additionally, each fellow will have the opportunity to share ideas at seminars, lectures, and lectures at the National Humanities Center.

At the top of the page: Emmanuel David’s book project will focus on Christine Jorgensen who was the first widely known person to have sex reassignment surgery (Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library). Above: Emmanuel David is an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at CU Boulder.

“I was thrilled to have my research in queer and trans studies recognized and to have the opportunity to be part of the vibrant intellectual community at the National Center for the Humanities next year,” said David, program co-director. of LGBTQ certificate. , and Affiliate Professor at the Center for Asian Studies, the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Sociology, and the Center for Natural Hazards.

David earned his Ph.D. in sociology from CU Boulder in 2009 and spent time as an assistant professor at Villanova University and a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines before coming to CU Boulder as an assistant professor in 2013.

He researches gender, sexuality and globalization, with a particular focus on the Philippines. This book project continues this research by focusing on Christine Jorgensen (1926-1989), World War II veteran and pioneer of the transgender movement, and her little-known performance tour through Asia and the Pacific in the early 1960s, which took her to places like Hawaii, Australia, Hong Kong, Macao and the Philippines.

Drawing on multilingual archival sources in Asia, Australia, Denmark and the United States, David’s project explores Jorgensen’s deep relationship with Asia and the Pacific and the lasting effect of travel on his imagination and its reinvention. By chronicling this little-studied chapter in Jorgensen’s life, David hopes this project will reevaluate his place in trans history through a global perspective.

“We are delighted to support the exciting work of these outstanding scholars,” said Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center. “They are a remarkably diverse group whose scientific expertise spans humanities disciplines. We look forward to welcoming them in the fall as they work on their individual projects and form a vibrant intellectual community.

The National Humanities Center is the only independent institute in the world dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. Through its residential fellowship program, the center provides scholars with the resources to generate new knowledge and better understand all forms of cultural expression, social interaction, and human thought.

Through its education programs, the center strengthens education at the college and pre-college levels. Through public engagement intimately tied to its academic and educational programs, the center promotes understanding of the humanities and champions their fundamental role in a democratic society.

Funding for this scholarship was provided by the Center’s Endowment and by grants from the Duke Endowment, Henry Luce Foundation, UNCF/Mellon Programs, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as alumni contributions and friends from the center.

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