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2019 Keynote Speakers

Morning Keynote: Julia Serano - "A Social Justice Activist's Perspective on Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics, and Political Correctness"

Julia Serano

Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, spoken word performer, musician, biologist, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity—The Advocate placed the book on their list of “Best Non-Fiction Transgender Books,” and readers of Ms. Magazine ranked it #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.”

Her other books include 2013’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (which was a finalist for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction) and 2016’s Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism (which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction). Julia’s other writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and in magazines and news outlets such as TIME, The Guardian, Salon, The Daily Beast, Bitch, AlterNet, Out, and Ms. Julia additionally writes silly, surreal, sex-positive fiction under the pen name Kat Cataclysm, and records indie-pop music under the moniker Soft Vowel Sounds. Information about her various creative endeavors can be found at

Julia’s life experiences as a trans woman, and her understanding of biology (she has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and spent seventeen years as a researcher at UC Berkeley in the fields of genetics, evolution and developmental biology), gives her a unique perspective on gender and sexuality, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in gender studies, queer/LGBTQ studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and human sexuality courses across North America.

Afternoon Keynote: Heide Castañeda - "Borders of Belonging: 'Illegality,' Migrant Families, and Revisioning Existence Beyond and Across Borders"

Heide Castañeda is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. She is the author of Borders of Belonging: Struggle and Solidarity in Mixed-Status Immigrant Families (Stanford University Press), Migrant Health: Cross-Disciplinary and Critical Perspectives (Routledge, forthcoming), and co-editor of Unequal Coverage: The Experience of Health Care Reform in the United States (NYU Press, 2018).

Her research areas include political and legal anthropology, medical anthropology, migration, and constructs of citizenship. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Fulbright Program, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.