Sahar Sadjadi

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Amherst College

Grant number

Gr. 9504

Approve Date

September 29, 2017

Project Title

Sadjadi, Dr. Sahar, Amherst College, Amherst, MA - To aid research and writing on 'Beautiful Children: Medicine and the Future of Transgender Identity' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

This book project is an ethnography of the clinical practices that have emerged around gender non-conforming and transgender children in the United States. It examines the convergence of the psychiatric category of Gender Identity Disorder in Children with a new category of personhood among children, the transgender child. It explores the development of new medical treatments such as puberty suppression for transgender children, their health consequences such as sterilization, and the humanitarian urge that guides these preemptive interventions. I demonstrate that understanding and treating children’s gender troubles is currently shaped by the cultural and scientific appeal of innate and interior origins of identity and difference, and by imagining the child as the harbinger of authenticity of identity. I argue that the contemporary scientific conceptualizations of the ‘brain’ as the location of ‘gender identity’ should be understood in relation to the Western metaphysical conceptions of the body and the soul and the modern accounts of ‘the self’ as interiority and psychic depth. This project is based on a 24-month multi-sited study of 1) the expert revision of the psychiatric category of Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood (GIDC) for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM 5) and 2) the diagnostic and treatment practices at two major pediatric gender clinics in the United States. I will complete this book manuscript, that is currently under contract with the University of California Press, during the Hunt Fellowship period.