Eliza Steinbock is a VENI laureate and assistant professor at LUCAS, where they are involved in critical diversity issues. Eliza trained in cultural analysis (PhD 2011) and investigates visual culture mediums like film, digital media, and photography, with a special focus on dimensions of race, gender and sexuality. Their current book project is on contemporary transgender (self) portraiture in the wider field of visual activism, which includes interviews with trans-identified cultural producers based in Toronto, Berlin, Cape Town and Johannesberg. Steinbock is chair of the conference "Art & Activism: Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis" (13-15 Dec. 2017, Leiden).
Steinbock's research interests spread across three interdisciplinary fields: Transgender Studies, Affect Theory and formations of the Post/Human. Cutting across these preoccupations is an investigation into the politics and aesthetics of art-making (who, what, for whom, how, to what effect). How do varying frameworks of visuality shape social understandings of bodily difference?
Steinbock's NWO-VENI postdoctoral research into the social embedding of cultural and artistic production uses approaches from transgender studies to center critiques of binary gender norms, the stigmatizing of gender non-conformity, and subjugated knowledge of trans* subjects. Multiple book chapters and articles on trans art hirstories, artists who redress violence and stigma while fostering resilience, and the framing of trans bodies in contemporary mediascapes are already published, and a monograph on transgender portraiture is in development.
The fight against transgender discrimination is interlinked with the liberation struggles of racialized subjects, decolonization, Indigenous peoples and animals - a powerful coalition theorized by 28 contributors in the massive special issue "Tranimacies: Intimate Links between Animal and Trans* Studies" of Angelaki: journal of theoretical humanities (2017). As co-editor of the issue and author, Steinbock brings together scholarship in digital media, history of medicine, art and culture with philosophy.
At the heart of their interdisciplinary interests is the question of technology and embodiment. Derived from the Greek soma (body) and techné (craftsmanship), the term somatechnics holds in view the lively enfleshment of techné and the practices of embodying via hard and soft technologies. Steinbock is co-editing a special issue for the journal Somatechnics, on "Cinematic Bodies" (in 2018). From the first actualities and trick films, human and non-human bodies have assembled in and around filmic events, producing powerful cine-social apparatuses. The issue approaches “the cinematic” broadly, as a sensorial and temporal flow of interrelations around images and sound that governs and opens possibilities for various embodiments.
Media production, news coverage and user-generated content about transgender lives concerns Steinbock's research project-in-planning about the exercise of sovereignty and gender self-determination online, which engages with feminist digital humanities approaches to technology.
Information about Steinbock's research related events with artists, media experts, trans advocates and (inter)national scholars can be found on their website, which also announces upcoming events. A complete list of publications are available in Steinbock's full CV.
PhD, University of Amsterdam, 2011
Eliza Steinbock has held appointments at the University of Amsterdam's Media Studies Department, at the Amsterdam University College in Art History, at Maastricht University's programs in Literature, Art, and Media and cross-appointed at the Maastricht University College in Cultural Studies. Nationally, they serve on the Netherlands Research School for Gender Studies' Education Commission and on the board of the NIAS-Lorenz Program dedicated to inter-disciplinary research. Since 2013, Steinbock is the founding editor of the Art and Culture review section of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke journals).
A complete list of professional activities are available in Steinbock's full CV.
Steinbock is interested in mentoring scholars, and available to supervise a dissertation on any topic related to their research expertise, for instance, in the fields of (trans)gender, sexuality, critical race, and animal studies, artistic and cultural production, activism and political engagement.
They currently serve as co-promoter for the following LUCAS PhD projects: an historical study of trans* activism in Italy (Maria Chiara Ferro), media representations of Chinese beauty standards for women (and men) (Zexu Guan), and identity politics in contemporary Sinophone cinema (Jiyu Zhang).
Grants & awards
2017 - Board Member NIAS-Lorenz Program (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences-Lorentz International Science Center) (KNAW-NWO)
2014-2018 - Awarded NWO Veni grant for "Vital Art: Transgender Portraiture as Visual Activism"
2011 - Awarded Dissertation of the Year for "Shimmering Images: On Transgender Embodiment and Cinematic Aesthetics" (Juried Committee, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam)
2006 - Awarded ASCA Dissertation Fellowship (University of Amsterdam)