Mark S. Bonham Centre for
Sexual Diversity Studies

Seth Palmer

Seth Palmer is a PhD student in Anthropology and the collaborative specialization in Sexual Diversity Studies and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto.

Seth’s doctoral research focuses on non-conforming gendered and sexualized identarian categories in Western Madagascar (sarimbavy, sarindahy, dog nate) of both male and female-bodied persons.  The project is concerned with ontological conceptions of gendered and sexulaized alterity, and the ways that these various ontologies are negotiated and materialized through spirit possession and sex work.

Seth is also working on an archival project that interrogates the ways in which the figure of the sarimbavy was translated into fin-de-siecle sexological theory by early European explorers, French colonial medical doctors, and early “gay” activists in England.  The research draws from contemporary theory in queer historiography and subaltern studies by attempting not to recover and speak for lost figures of the past, but rather learning to learn from their archival representations.

More broadly, Seth is interested in the western Indian Ocean region, Madagascar, Reunion Island, Francophone colonial and postcolonial studies, feminist/queer ethnography, sexual economies, and the relationship between spirit possession, genders, and sexualities.