As unbearably ordinary as it stands, this project is an ambition. It seeks to unsettle commonplaces that naturalize and flatten anti-trans/queer violence in the rehearsals of public discourse as well as personal testimonies. Based on one year of fieldwork, I attend to the various ways this violence is part of the larger structural transformations that define the contemporary conjuncture and how it descends into the ordinary to reproduce its own consistency. My main contention is that this violence is a collective experience, even when one person is standing in its crosshairs, because it wounds trans/queer life through the corrosion of its social bonds. I aim to reorient how we dwell in the space of trans/queer harm to search for what is otherwise unthinkable and impossible. To this end, I wager that the unthinkable in these scenes of violence is often joy. Using transness as a methodological lodestone for this manuscript, I foreground joy while heeding a medley of life-making practices that endure despite their regulation, surveillance and defiling. These practices sustain and cultivate joy from the fecund grounds of the everyday to interrupt violence’s consistency, as ephemeral and transitory as this joy might be. From the collective labor undergirding gender transition to the more insipid rhythm of an after-work date, this manuscript asks what is needed to continue to exist as crises deluge the historical present and foreshorten the future. Far from romancing trans/queer by way of idealization, this manuscript also addresses how experimentations to come and be together in difference are fraught with failures, heartbreaks and disagreements. But even if these collective projects fall through, the aspirational trajectories in their demand for a life worth living expand the reach of the possible. This manuscript therefore traces everyday itineraries that redefine the city, the family, the body, intimacy and livability in their makeshift mobility.
School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies
MA in Gender & Women's Studies
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
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Farag, N. A.
(2023).Unbearably, Ordinary [Master's Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Farag, Nada A.. Unbearably, Ordinary. 2023. American University in Cairo, Master's Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
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Available for download on Monday, February 10, 2025