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
  • 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.
  • 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.

“The contradiction of law in Derrida lies in the interstice that separates the impossibility of deconstructing justice from the possibility of deconstructing law.”

Andreas Fischer-Lescano
prison of difference

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“At first I thought contradiction was always a relational thing; but the more I ponder it, the more I think contradiction creates relation.”

Ingo H. Warnke

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

Julia Lossau
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“Michel Foucault says: “Where there is power, there is resistance, and […] this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power” (History of Sexuality I, The Will to Knowledge, 1976, p. 95)”

Gisela Febel