Eliza Steinbock (E.A.)
Dr Eliza Steinbock is Associate Professor of Gender and Diversity Studies based in the Literature and Art Department at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University.
They are director of the Centre for Gender and Diversity (CGD), a platform that aims to connect researchers in the fields of gender and diversity studies, to facilitate networking with societal partners, and to enhance public-facing scholarship. Eliza is in the research program of Arts, Media and Culture (a board member), an affiliated researcher to the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage, and member of the Advisory Council to the Diversity and Inclusivity Office.
Eliza specializes in the study of visuality and material culture, focusing on questions of transgender cultural production and the intersectional analysis of inclusion/exclusion mechanisms.
In the Netherlands Eliza is project-leader of the national consortium “The Critical Visitor: Intersectional Approaches for Rethinking and Retooling Accessibility and Inclusivity in Heritage Spaces” (2020-2025) funded by the Dutch Research Council. Together with 15 partners, the research team of Eliza, Hester Dibbits, Dirk van den Heuvel, Noah Littel and Liang-kai Yu investigates how the organization, collection, and exhibition spaces of heritage can meet the breadth of demands placed by today’s “critical visitors” for queering, decolonizing, and cripping.
Eliza has published over 40 articles and book chapters on contemporary visual culture analyzing the intersecting dimensions of gender, sexuality, race, and ability. They authored the Society for Cinema and Media Studies awarded best first book, Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (Duke, 2019) and is co-editor of Art and Activism in the Age of Systemic Crisis: Aesthetic Resilience (Routledge, 2020). Their most recent edited volume is the June 2021 TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly "Europa Issue" co-edited with Yv E. Nay. Together with Susan Stryker and Jian Neo Chen, Eliza co-edits the new Duke book series for critical trans studies, ASTERISK: Gender, Trans-, and All That Comes After.
Driving my multidisciplinary research is the question of how local visual and material cultures can be marshaled to respond to global challenges of inclusion and exclusion mechanisms related to minoritarian identities, foremost to queer and trans identities. This focus has directed my investigations into the politics of cultural production and exhibition in the film, arts, and heritage sectors. The results have been disseminated in an award-winning monograph on trans cinema aesthetics, an edited volume with Routledge on artistic activism and resilience, five special issues in major journals for cultural studies, philosophy, and gender studies, and over 30 peer-reviewed essays.
I combine roles of scholar, curator, and consultant to cultural institutions, for example, producing a photography show “Radical Tenderness: Trans for Trans Portraiture” for the Alice Austen House on Staten Island funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (2021), being a member of the “Circle of Critical Friends” for the Schwules Museum in Berlin (on-going), and advising the National Museum for World Cultures on their “What a Genderful World” exhibition (2018-19).
I specialize in participatory research that involves stakeholders to comprehend as well as intervene in the meteoric rise in transgender imagery, discourses, and debate. Current discourses and legislation that claim transgender people “don’t exist” makes establishing trans heritage a pressing issue that I respond to directly through research collaborations with museums and archives.
My long-time interest in transgender studies is due to the way it potentially innovates any discipline by centralizing how bodies are generated through assemblage: of hard and soft technologies, discourses, desire. I research trans cultural production to understand how frameworks of visuality, embedded in specific visual mediums, shape the perception of bodily difference.
My research agenda is to affirm representations of trans embodiment while accounting for the difficulties of being seen as a legible person. I also identify as a non-binary trans person –some might say as genderqueer– and use the pronouns they/them/their. I describe my attitude towards my profession as “me-search” in the preface to my 2019 book Shimmering Images (Duke University Press).
2011 PhD in Cultural Analysis (awarded best ASCA dissertation-annual cash prize) | Dept. Media Studies and Literary Studies, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, NL: awarded 17 June 2011. Supervisor: Prof. dr. Maaike Bleeker
2004 Master in Cultural Studies (with distinction-highest possible honor) | School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, UK: awarded 1 September 2004.
2021 – present Current Position: Associate Professor Gender and Diversity Studies
Department of Literature and Art, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Maastricht University, NL
2018 – 2021 Tenured Assistant Professor Cultural Analysis, Centre for the Arts in Society, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, NL
2014 – 2018 Assistant Professor Film and Literary Studies (20%), Postdoctoral Researcher NWO VENI (80%), Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS), Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University
2012 – 2014 Lecturer Literature, Arts, Media/Cultural Studies, Dept. Literature and Art, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, NL
2010 – 2012 Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, Amsterdam University College, NL
2008 – 2009 Lecturer, Dept. Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, NL
2006 – 2011 AiO (fully funded PhD position), Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam, NL