Eliza Steinbock is an assistant professor in Cultural Analysis at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society since 2014. Steinbock's interests spread across three interdisciplinary fields: Transgender Studies, Affect Theory and formations of the Post/Human. Cutting across these preoccupations is an investigation into the politics and aesthetics of art-making (who, what, for whom, how, to what effect). How do varying frameworks of visuality shape social understandings of bodily difference? They investigate visual culture mediums like film, digital media, and photography, with a special focus on dimensions of race, gender and sexuality.
Eliza received a MA in Cultural Studies from Leeds University (2004), a PhD in Cultural Analysis (2011, ASCA Fellowship) from the University of Amsterdam, and thereafter a NWO Veni Postdoctorate award for "Vital Art: Transgender Portraiture as Visual Activism" (2014-2018).
Eliza’s first book is published by Duke University Press, Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (March 2019), which traces traces how cinema offers alternative ways to understand gender transitions through a specific aesthetics of change. Drawing on Barthes's idea of the “shimmer” and Foucault's notion of sex as a mirage, the author shows how sex and gender can appear mirage-like on film, an effect they label shimmering. Steinbock applies the concept of shimmering—which delineates change in its emergent form as well as the qualities of transforming bodies, images, and affects—to analyses of films that span time and genre.
During their stay at the MvBZ, Eliza will be working on their second book project provisionally titled Cherishing and Perishing in Transgender Portraiture that places the production and circulation of contemporary transgender (self) portraiture in the wider field of visual activism. The research includes interviews with twelve trans-identified cultural producers based in Toronto, Berlin, Cape Town and Johannesberg. The book’s approach is attentive to the social embedding of cultural and artistic production, and employs transgender studies theories to center critiques of binary gender norms, the stigmatizing of gender non-conformity, and subjugated knowledge of trans* subjects. Multiple book chapters and articles on trans art hirstories, artists who redress violence and stigma while fostering resilience, and the framing of trans bodies in contemporary mediascapes are already published. Within the scope of the NWO grant and research on this project, Steinbock chaired the conference "Art & Activism: Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis" (13-15 Dec. 2017, Leiden), and will also be finalizing the manuscript with book chapters developed from the conference proceedings.
Nationally, they serve on the Netherlands Research School for Gender Studies' Education Commission and on the board of the NIAS-Lorenz Program dedicated to inter-disciplinary research. Since 2013, Steinbock is the founding editor of the Art and Culture review section of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke journals). Together with Susan Stryker (University of Arizona), Eliza will co-edit a new book series at Duke University Press called ASTERISK: Gender, Trans-, and All That Comes After. Information about Steinbock's research related events with artists, media experts, trans advocates and (inter)national scholars can be found on their website, which also announces upcoming events.
Eliza Steinbock, Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (Durham and London: Duke University Press, March 2019)
Eliza Steinbock, “On Affective Exchange in Portraiture: To Follow J. Jackie Baier into the Photographic Dissolve.” How to Do Things with Affects: Affective Triggers in Aesthetic Forms and Cultural Practices. Eds. Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa (Amsterdam: Brill Publishers, 2019), 251-272.
Eliza Steinbock, “A Conversation with Cassils on Propagating Collective Resilience in Times of War.” Performance Matters Journal 4.3 (2019): 108-127. Online
Eliza Steinbock, “Collecting Creative Transcestors: Trans* Portraiture Hirstory, from Snapshots to Sculpture.” A Companion to Feminist Art. Eds. Maria Buszek and Hilary Robinson (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, April 2019).
Eliza Steinbock, (Co-edited with Cáel Keegan and Laura Horak) Somatechnics Journal issue “Cinematic Bodies.” 8.1 (2018): 142pp. – “Introduction: Cinematic/Trans*/Bodies Now (and Then, and to Come).” 1-13.
Eliza Steinbock, (Co-edited with Marianna Szczygielska and Anthony Wagner) Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities issue “Tranimacies: Intimate Links between Animal and Trans* Studies” 22.2 (2017): 285pp. - “Introduction: Thinking Linking.” 1-10.