Portraitfoto Helen Stephan

Helen J. Stephan

Material-Discursive Apparatuses and Hormonal Bodies. Living in Contradiction with Binary Gendered Biopolitics

The medical body has acquired the status of a universal category, and hormones configure in a fundamental way the bio-medical understanding of the human as well as the binary construction of gender difference that was institutionalized 120 years ago. My project aims at a praxeological ethnography of apparatuses that produce knowledge of hormonal bodies and are situated in various forms of assemblage (techno-scientific, political, medical, economical), that regulate the accessibility of gendered and racialized human groups to sexual hormones. In my work I will juxtapose the different onto-epistemological figurations of the hormonal-gendered body that are produced by material-discursive apparatuses with the everyday experiences of persons who are pursuing or are looking for the possibility to pursue therapies with hormone replacement therapy in the context of gender transition.

Research interests
  • Decolonial and Black Theory
  • Queerstudies and Queerfeminism
  • Postcolonial and Feminist Science and Technology Studies
  • New Materialism and Political Economy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Critical Theory
Vita
  • 2021
    Yisares Autumn School Extractivist Capitalism.
  • 2021
    M.A. Transcultural studies at University of Bremen.
  • 2017 – 18
    Project coordination ‘Global Cotton’ at University of Bremen.
  • 2016
    B.A. Anthropology and Sociology at University of Hamburg.
Talk
  • 2023
    Workshop Agencies, Contradictions, and Subjectivities – Towards a Material-Discursive Framing of Engaged Practices with Brent Abrahams, Dean Stephanus & Vuyisanani Am (University of Western Cape). 07.12.2023 at University Bremen.
  • 2023
    Lecture Unsicherheit im Herzen der Herstellungspraxen naturalisierter Ordnungen – Race und trans* als fundierende Kategorien in der Sexualhormonforschung at the panel Verunsicherung einer ‘natürlichen’ Ordnung. (Queer-)feministische Un/Gewissheiten, Congress Political Theory in Times of Uncertainty. 28.09.2023 at University Bremen
  • 2023
    Lecture Material-Discursive Apparatusses and Hormonal Bodies. Living in Contradiction to Gender-Binary Biopolitics. 08.06.2023 at University Bremen.
space

“According to Niklas Luhmann, space is a ‘special facility to negate contradictions’”.

Julia Lossau
Afterlife of colonialism

“Contradiction comes in many different forms. None is so debilitating than when the coloniser transitions, textually not politically, to decoloniality without taking the responsibility for the afterlife of colonialism, which they continue to benefit from. Self-examination and self-interrogation of the relations of coloniality, a necessity, seem nearly impossible for the coloniser who continues to act as beneficiary, masked in the new-found language of White fragility, devoid of an ethical responsibility of the very system of White domination they claim to be against.” (Black Consciousness and the Politics of the Flesh)

Rozena Maart
paradox

“The basis of law is not an idea as a systematic unified principle but a paradox.”

Andreas Fischer-Lescano
hierarchy of norms

“If social contradictions are reflected in law, law cannot form a hierarchy of norms free of contradictions.”

Andreas Fischer-Lescano
city

“The city is a laboratory not only of modernity, but also of contradiction.”

Julia Lossau