The 2020 Bodies of Knowledge series will take place on April 9th and 10th at USC Upstate. The event is free to all students and USC Upstate and Converse faculty and staff. Registration for the general public is $40 with a need-based sliding scale and fee waivers available.

This LGBTQ themed event was founded in 2008 in memory of Sean Kennedy. A biennial event, Bodies of Knowledge “aims to create a safer, more understanding community for everyone by offering high-quality presentations that change the conversation about LGBTQ experience in the Upstate and beyond, thereby improving the climate of the Upstate for its LGBTQ youth and promoting civil and well-informed discussion around sexuality and nonconforming gender identities.”

This year the event will focus on issues surrounding the transgender community. Studies have reported that an estimated 21,000 transgender adults live in the state of South Carolina and that our state is seriously lacking in education on trans identities and access to health care specific to trans people. Bodies of Knowledge seeks to bridge these gaps and improve the local climate here in the Upstate for trans identifying people.

Bodies of Knowledge 2020

Bodies of Knowledge has prepared a space for presentations and dialogue by scholars, artist and community organizers that will further the education of issues surrounding trans people and their specific experiences.

“Four stellar keynote speakers will form the core of this special event with back-to-back presentations on Thursday, April 9, from 9:00-3:00. Professionals who wish to receive continuing education credits will be eligible for 5 general CEUs if they attend all four of these presentations.”

Speakers include: Dr. Austin H. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Kenyon College; Dr. Marquis Bey, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English at Northwestern; Dr. Tey Meadow, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Dr. Heath Fogg Davis, Professor of Political Science at Temple University.

Organizers of Bodies of Knowledge have put our a call for additional contributors.

“The organizers of Bodies of Knowledge 2020 invite proposals for individual conference papers, panels with 3-5 conference papers, informal round table panels, creative presentations (e.g., poetry, spoken word, creative nonfiction, photography exhibits, other art installations), and tabling by community organizations. We welcome participation from undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and community organizers. Proposals may address topics raised by the keynoters—trans community organizing, Black transgender feminism, trans childhoods, trans theorizing about gender-markers on legal documents—or may respond more broadly to the theme of re-envisioning transgender lives, cultures, politics, media visibility, and so on.”

Email Dr. Lisa Johnson at with submissions and for more information.

Download the full “Call for Papers” here.