Sexile’s Transnational and Transgender Shifts: Affect in the Graphic HIV Prevention Novel

Event Start Date: April 20, 2017 4:00 PM
Event End Date: April 20, 2017 5:00 PM


Nygren Studio (Library West 212)

Keywords: transgender; transnational; affect studies; pedagogy; HIV AIDS prevention; intersectionality; Cuban exile; sexile; Mariel

Published in 2004, Sexile/Sexilio is the bilingual autobiography of Adela Vazquez, co-written by Vazquez and Jaime Cortez, illustrated as a graphic novel by Cortez, and edited by Pato Hebert as part of the Institute for Gay Men’s Health initiative on HIV prevention. Beginning with Vazquez’s youth in Cuba, Sexile traces her migration to the United States on the Mariel boat lift, and her eventual transition, thus articulating an intersection between transnational and transgender narratives. This article analyzes the dissonance between the image and text in order to create affective shifts specific to the form of the graphic novel. Alongside Vazquez’s lived experiences and perspectives, these shifts destabilize a narrative arc that might otherwise privilege switching from one nation to another or one gender-identification to another, and instead, explores trans* shifts.

Digital Humanities Project to discuss: “Scale and Rhetoric of Repair: Mapping the Nantes Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery.”

“Mapping Memorials,” a digital map of the Nantes Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery. I aim to use this map to ask, Why is Nantes able to culturally recognize the debt owed to the transatlantic slave trade, whereas on an international plane, France has consistently rejected engaging debates about reparations to the Afro-diasporic peoples who have inherited the crushing legacies of that same trade? I will create a map with Omeka, a platform which organizes collections of digital objects, and Neatline, a timeline and mapping plugin. I use photographs and videos that I took while researching the Memorial and the urban paths through Nantes that mark the city’s surface with the role that slavery played in the city’s development to create a virtual tour: this is meant to be an experience of a small portion of the city’s downtown at an almost human scale. Then, I will expand the geographical reach of that map by layering onto it a map that includes the statements about France’s historical responsibility about colonialism and reparation as made by politicians in Paris, to contrast what can be said by officials at the nation’s center and what can be said at commemorative events in Nantes. My hypothesis is ex-centric cities such as Nantes and Liverpool do the work of recognition of responsibility for the slave trade on a cultural plane and at the scale of a city in the place of official apologies that would justify claims for economic repair at an international scale. My goal in using digital mapping to trace these rhetorical shifts is to explore how digital visualizations of what is rhetorically possible and at what sites within the French nation will highlight these shifts in scale that I argue are critical to understanding rhetorical slippages in the reparations debate.

For additional information, please contact Laurie Taylor (

  • This event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.
  • This event is co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Working Group on the Arts and Humanities for the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) as a Research/Teaching Commons, funded through the Title VI funding from the Center for Latin American Studies, and the George A. Smathers Libraries

Presenter: Jeannine Murray-Román, Assistant Professor of French and Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University,

Bio: Jeannine Murray-Román is an Assistant Professor of French and Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University. Her research focuses on comparative Caribbean literatures with an emphasis on postcolonial, transnational, digital humanities, and performance studies. Her work has appeared in Small Axe, The International Journal of Francophone Studies, and The French Review. Her monograph, Performance and Personhood in Caribbean Literature, was published by the University of Virginia Press in February, 2016.