Trans Histories in Canada and Germany: A Roundtable


4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Did you know that October is Canada’s official LGBTQ2S+ History Month?

To mark the occasion, we invite you to join us on Monday, October 2, 2023 for a moderated roundtable discussion about current trends, challenges, and interventions in the research and study of trans histories in both Canada and Germany, featuring visiting historical scholars from Freie Universität Berlin and graduate students in history at the University of Toronto.

Presented by the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, the University of Toronto’s Department of History, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, and the Munk School’s Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES).

WHEN: Monday, October 2, 2023 | 4-6pm

WHERE: In person at the Natalie Zemon Davis Conference Room
Department of History, Sidney Smith Building
100 St. George St., Room 2098


Merlin Sophie Bootsmann, Greta Hülsmann and Andrea Rottmann work together in the research project “Human Rights, Queer Genders and Sexualities Since the 1970s” at the Freie Universität Berlin’s history department. They study and teach the histories of gender and sexuality, particularly queer history, in different contexts. Andrea has written about trans subjectivities in Cold War Berlin, Merlin and Greta have conducted a workshop on trans history at Berlin’s gay museum. They are interested in all things queer and trans history, archives, oral histories, education politics, and human rights.

Elio Colavito (he/they) is a white transmasculine settler, interdisciplinary scholar, and PhD candidate in the Department of History with a collaborative specialization in Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. His research centers transmasculine histories of care, mutual aid, and community formation in 20th-century Canada and the United States. With support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Critical Digital Humanities Initiative, University of Toronto, Elio works to make a usable past accessible to trans communities.

Chris Aino Pihlak is a trans woman and emerging social historian who studies past articulations of trans feminine existence. In addition to her interest in trans feminine porn studies, she is a scholar of twentieth-century, Anglophone, and overwhelmingly white, trans feminine subcultural periodical networks. She hopes her analyses of the complexities and messiness of past trans lives honours those who built the path she now walks on.

Elspeth Brown is Professor of History at the University of Toronto, where her research concerns modern queer and trans history; oral history; queer archives; public history; the history and theory of photography; and the history of US capitalism. She is also currently the Associate VP Research, University of Toronto Mississauga, Director of the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory and the University of Toronto’s Critical Digital Humanities Initiative. She is the author of numerous books, articles, and public humanities projects, including “Trans Oral History as Trans Care” (with Myrl Beam, Oral History Review 2022); “Archival Activism, Symbolic Annihilation, and the LGBTQ+ Community Archive” (Archivaria 2020); and Work! A Queer History of Modeling (Duke University, 2019). From 2014-2021, she served on the Board of The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBQT2+ Archive, most recently as Co-President.