The Histories of Trans People (PGT) CLASSIC5119

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course takes a cross-cultural look at the experiences and representations of those who have transgressed, defied, or escaped the constraints of binary sex and/or gender. It examines both societies structured along strongly binary lines and those with multiple sex or gender systems. Out of that historical context, it considers the formation of modern typologies, categories, and identities from the early twentieth century onwards, the attendant medical and political narratives, and the intersections with feminist and queer history and theory, and finally charts the development of trans voices, experiences and struggle from the early 1870s onwards.


1x1hr lecture, 1x1hr seminar per week as scheduled on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College Level

Excluded Courses

The Histories of Trans People (UG) CLASSIC4098




Personal reflection (1,000 words)

Essay (3,000 words)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Consider the long history of contemporary trans identities and how current categories, in the light of their antecedents and parallels across time and space, and the process of category formation.

■ Explore diversity in social and cultural structures, both strongly binary and otherwise.

■ Interrogate the intersections of gender transgression with other social phenomena, including but not limited to sexuality, race, and class.

■ Situate trans history and theory in the context both of feminist and queer history and theory.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify significant antecedents and parallels for contemporary trans identities and experiences.

■ Describe the development of historical categories against evolving social, political, and medical contexts.

■ Compare gender diversity across time, space, culture, and social structure.

■ Analyse the relationship of trans history and theory with feminist and queer theory and history.

■ Evaluate, orally and in written form, the significance, and limitations of different kinds of evidence and modes of representation for establishing a history of trans people.

■ Reflect upon the personal and political significance of trans history.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.