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Why do trans women do sex work? One answer might be found in the antebellum US, when wage labor competed with other economic modes, including chattel slavery. Treating trans womanhood not as an identity or ontology, but a way of life that arose in the wake of state and capitalist dispossession, this talk considers the career of Mary Jones, a free Black woman and trans sex worker made infamous after being arrested in New York City in 1836. Jones leveraged the contradictions of Black mobility and fungibility into a life that sketches how significant trans womanhood has been to the advent of the service economy. 

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.