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Dr. Cael Marcas Keegan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Fine Arts

Dr. Cael Marcas Keegan, Ph.D.
Photo by Bud Kibby (TINYuproar)
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5673


Professor Keegan’s research and writing analyze the histories and theoretical implications of queer and transgender media representation, aesthetic figuration, and cultural production. Prof. Keegan is intellectually and politically committed to the critical exploration of the popular and has written extensively on transgender and queer affects, ontologies, and phenomenologies as articulated through popular media formats, platforms, and genres. He is the author of Lana and Lilly Wachowski: Sensing Transgender and co-editor of "In Focus: Transing Cinema and Media Studies" in the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies and a special issue of Somatechnics (8.1) on the transgender cinematic body. In 2021-2022, he was a Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University. Keegan currently co-edits the book series Queer Screens with David Gerstner for Wayne State University Press.

Professor Keegan's recent work is interested in the cultural formation of the transgender imaginary and the problems that realism and indexicality pose to the popular expression of transgender life. His current research project, Bad Trans Objects, explores the emerging phenomenon of the “good” trans subject and argues for an archive of “bad” trans media objects that might help revivify trans liberation by illustrating the imposed nature of both the male/female and cisgender/transgender binaries. 

Teaching activities

2023-2024 courses

Fall 2023: FMST 391/COMS 304: Sexual Representation in Cinema
               FASS 393: Queer and Trans Studies and Culture

Winter 2024: FMST 393:Queer Cinema II
                   FMST 804: Transgender Film and Media Studies


Works in Preparation and Submitted

Speculative Media and Fiction. Transgender Studies Quarterly 12.01. Special issue co-edited with Rox Samer. Awaiting editorial board approval. 

“Escaping the Point: On Trans Visibility and the Art of Edie Fake.” Essay for Transfixt: Transgender Aesthetics at the Tipping Point, eds. Jules Rosskam and Jac Pryor. Proposal submitted to Duke University Press, 9/8/2022. Full manuscript requested 11/4/2022. In preparation.

Alley of the Trannyboys.” Essay for Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, ed. Chris E. Vargas. Accepted.

“Queer and Trans Cinemas.” Video essay for The Audiovisual Lexicon for Audiovisual Analysis, produced/directed by Vincent Longo and Matthew Solomon. In post-production.

“No (Trans) Body There: Indexical Sex and the Queer Popular” Essay for Studies in World Cinema, special issue on queer cinema, ed. James Williams. In preparation.

Bad Trans Objects. Book project. In preparation.



2018Lana and Lilly Wachowski: Sensing Transgender. University of Illinois Press, 2018. 

Edited Volumes

2022“In Focus: Transing Cinema and Media Studies.” Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 61.2 (Winter 2022). 162-212. Edited with Laura Horak. 

2018Somatechnics. Special Issue: “Cinematic Bodies.” Co-edited with Laura Horak and Eliza 
Steinbock. Vol. 8.1 (March 2018). 

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Essays

2022“On the Necessity of Bad Trans Objects.” Film Quarterly 75.3 (Spring 2022). 26-37.

2022“Introduction: Transing Cinema and Media Studies. Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 61.2 (Winter 2022). 164-68. Cowritten with Laura Horak.

2020“Against Queer Theory.” Transgender Studies Quarterly 7.3 (August 2020): 349-53. 

2018“Getting Disciplined: What’s Trans* About Queer Studies Now?” Journal of Homosexuality 67.3 (October 2018). 384-97.
-Reprinted in The Transgender Studies Reader Remix. Eds. Susan Stryker and Dylan McCarthy Blackston. (London: Routledge, 2022): 241-50.

2018“Cinematic/Trans*/Bodies Now (And Then, and To Come).” Somatechnics 8.1 (March 2018): 1-13. Cowritten with Laura Horak and Eliza Steinbock.

2017“History, Disrupted: The Aesthetic Gentrification of Queer and Trans Cinema After the Recession.” Social Alternatives 35.3 (Spring 2017): 50-6. 

2016“Revisitation: A Trans Phenomenology of the Media Image.” MedieKultur 61.1-5 (Fall 2016): 26-41. 

2016 “On Being the Object of Compromise.” Transgender Studies Quarterly 3.1-2    (Spring 2016): 150-7. 

2016“Emptying the Future: Queer Melodramatics and Negative Utopia on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture 1.1. (Jan. 2016): 9-22. 

2013“Queer Sensations: Postwar American Melodrama and the Crisis of Queer Juvenility," Thymos 7.2 (Fall 2013): 115-29. 

2013“Moving Bodies: Sympathetic Migrations in Transgender Narrativity," Genders 55 (Spring 2013). Electronic publication. 6,614 words. 

2006“Household Remedies: New Narratives of Queer Containment in the Television Movie," Journal of Lesbian Studies 10.1-2 (Fall 2006): 107-23. 17 pages. 

-Reprinted in Challenging Lesbian Norms. Ed. Angela Pattatuci Aragon. (New York: Routledge, 2013), 107-24.

2006“Sexing the Terrorist: Tracing the National Body at Abu Ghraib," NeoAmericanist 1.1. (Fall/Winter 2006): 1-12. 

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
2021“Mirror Scene: Transgender Aesthetics in The Matrix and Boys Don’t Cry.” In The Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema. Eds. Ronald Gregg and Amy Villarejo (Oxford: Oxford UP), 491-510.

2021“Revisiting the Cluster.” In Sense8: Transcending Television. Eds. Rob Stone and Deborah Shaw (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021), 219-26.

2020“Transgender Studies, or How to Do Things with Trans*.” In The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies. Ed. Siobhan B. Somerville (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 66-78. 

2017 “Nothing to Hide: Selfies, Sex, and the Visibility Dilemma in Trans Male Online Cultures.” Co-authored with T. Raun. In Sex in the Digital Age. Eds. Paul G.
Nixon and Isabel K. Dusterhoft (New York: Routledge, 2017), 89-100. 

2015“California and the Queer Utopian Imagination." In A History of California Literature. Ed. Blake Allmendinger (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015), 327-42. 

Short Essays, Reviews, Roundtables, and Public Scholarship

2021“Trans-/*.” In Keywords for Comics Studies, Eds. Ramzi Fawaz, Shelley Streeby, and Deborah Whaley (New York: NYU Press). 207-211.

2021“Phenomenology.” In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies, eds. Genny 

Beemyn and Abbie Goldberg (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications): 610-13. 

2020“In Praise of the Bad Transgender Object: Sleepaway Camp. FLOW: A Critical Forum on Media and Culture. Over*Flow: Special Episode (July 2020). 1,365 words.

2020“In Praise of the Bad Transgender Object: The Silence of the Lambs.” FLOW: A Critical Forum on Media and Culture 26.8 (June 2020). 1,384 words.

2019“In Praise of the Bad Transgender Object: Rocky Horror.” FLOW: A Critical 

Forum on Media and Culture 26.3 (November 2019). 1,451 words.

2019Review of Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 58.4 (July 2019): 183-86. 

2018“Ecstatic Passages: Transgender Sensation in The Matrix.” In Z Filmtidsskrift, special issue, “TranZ.” Ed. Gunnar Iverson. Published in Norwegian. 12 pages.

2017 Sense8 Roundtable.” With Moya Bailey, micha cárdenas, Laura Horak, Lokeilani Kaimana, Genevieve Newman, Roxanne Samer, Raffi Sarkissian. Spectator 37.2 (Fall 2017): 74-88. 

2016  “Junk Politics: The Representational Economy of Trans Male Genitalia.” In Below the Belt: Genital Talk by Men of Trans Experience. Ed. Trystan T. Cotten. Transgress Press, 2016. 1-13. 

2016“Tongues Without Bodies: The Wachowskis’ Sense8. Transgender Studies Quarterly 3.3-4 (Fall 2016). 605-10. 

2015“Looking Transparent.” Studies in Gender and Sexuality 16.2 (May 2015): 137-8. 

2015“Horizontal Inheritance: Orphan Black’s Transgender Genealogy.” InMediaRes. April 15, 2015. 382 words.

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