Aren Z Aizura

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Gender, Women & Sexuality Stdy
Room 425 Ford Hall
224 Church St SE

Aren Aizura is an assistant professor in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. He brings expertise in queer theory, transgender studies, transnationality and immigration, and political economy and labor. Aizura earned a PhD in cultural studies from the University of Melbourne and before joining the University of Minnesota was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers University. He also held a post-doctoral fellowship in Gender, Race and Science in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University. Aizura’s interdisciplinary research looks at how queer and transgender bodies shape and are shaped by technologies of race, gender, transnationality, medicalization and political economy. He studies gender reassignment surgery tourism in Thailand and elsewhere; trans and queer migration, especially queer/trans involvement in transnational economies of care work; and looking at the circuitry of nationalism, and biopolitics and value as they relate to gender variant life. His current book project, Mobile Subjects: travel, transnationality and transgender lives, maps the figure of transsexual transition as a travel narrative. The book examines this travel narrative against the colonial and imperial travel politics of modernity, neoliberal configurations of self-mobilizing subjectivities, and political and transnational economies governing the availability of healthcare. The book deploys interdisciplinary textual analysis, historiography, ethnographic research, and studies of law and medicine to trace the textual and material journeys of trans and gender non-conforming subjects. A key ethnographic case study examines Thailand as a global gender reassignment surgery destination. In documenting this form of medical tourism, the book enquires how transgender surgery culture is shaped by discourses of racialization, gender formation and aesthetics, and how new racialized subjects of femininity and masculinity are emerging at the intersection of affective labor, clinical care, and tourism. Aizura's new research project works across medical anthropology and transnational studies to investigate the transnational circulation of new terminologies to describe gender variant and gender nonconforming people, particularly within global human rights discourse, non-governmental aid, and public health.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 2009.
  • B.A.: University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 1999.


  • queer theory and queer studies
  • transgender studies
  • South East Asian studies
  • labor and political economy
  • science and medicine
  • transnationality and globalization
Courses Taught
  • GWSS 3404 Transnational Sexualities
  • GWSS 8220 Biopolitics, Race, and Gender
  • The Transgender Studies Reader 2. Aizura, Aren, Susan Stryker, Routledge, Co-Editor, 2014.
  • Trystan Cotten, Carla LaGata, Marcia Ochoa, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz. TSQ Transgender Studies Quarterly Special Issue: Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary. , 2014.
  • Carla LaGata/Carsten Balzer, Marcia Ochoa, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz. "Introduction." TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1: 3 (2014): 308-319.
  • Tom Boellstorff, Mauro Cabral, Micha Cárdenas, Trystan Cotten, Eric Stanley, Kalaniopua Young. "Roundtable: Decolonizing Transgender." TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1: 3 (2014): 419-439.
  • "Trans feminine value, racialized others and the limits of necropolitic." sIn Adi Kuntsman, Silvia Posocco, and Jin Haritaworn (eds), Queer Necropolitics (London: Routledge, 2014), 129-48.
  • “Transnational Transgender Rights and Immigration Law.” In A. Finn Enke (ed), Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies (Philadelphia: Temple University Press), 133-151.
  • “The Romance of the Amazing Scalpel: ‘Race’, labour and affect in Thai gender reassignment clinics.” In Peter A. Jackson (ed), Queer Bangkok, (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), 142—162.
  • “The Persistence of Transsexual Travel Narratives.” In Trystan Cotten (ed), Transgender Migrations: The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition (New York: Routledge, 2011), 139—156.
  • Aizura, Aren Zachary. "Feminine Transformations: Gender Reassignment Surgical Tourism in Thailand.” ." Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness 28: 4 (2010):
  • Aizura, Aren Zachary. "Where Health and Beauty Meet: femininity, cosmetic surgery and racialization in Thailand." Asian Studies Review 33: 3 (2009): 303-317.
  • Aizura, Aren Zachary. "Of Borders and Homes: The Imaginary Community of (Trans) Sexual Citizenship." Inter Asia Cultural Studies 7: 2 (2006): 289-309.