Document Type

Open Access Article

Author Biography

J. D. Sargan is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Limerick, where he uses radiographic imaging to study premodern bookbinding. This work has prompted his thinking about methodology, historiography, and queer and trans approaches to the history of the book.


This article draws on critical trans studies and queer archival practice to propose a book historical mode that extends what we know about the premodern trans experience beyond the recovery of individual biographies. Instead of turning to textual sources for the identification of transness, the author looks to Susan Stryker’s call for the “recuperat[ion of] embodied knowing as a formally legitimated basis of knowledge production.” Bibliography, he suggests, makes claims of objectivity that engender a particular reluctance to respond to such calls. But the lived reality of archival research is one of affective embodiment. Affect theory is an area that, as yet, has seen little methodological uptake in bibliographical research. This article lays the ground for a trans book history that takes affective embodied response seriously as a source of trans connection to and through the past.

(In the issue section "Bibliographic Knowledge(s)")