Felix McnultyPhD student
My ESRC-funded doctoral research seeks to explore the experience of issues around food, eating and weight among people of transgender experience and to develop a nuanced understanding of the ways in which certain eating practices and ways of relating to food are used by trans people in relation to embodiment and negotiations of the body in terms of the ways it is experienced as well as externally defined/assigned. I also assume a critical stance towards the existing body of research in this area, which is largely concerned with the attempt to identify group-wide general characteristics as measured using quantitative scales.
Over the last two decades, literature in the form of case studies and, in more recent years, survey and matched control studies of varying scales has emerged exploring the experience of disordered or potentially harmful eating practices among people of transgender experience. While aspects of this work are useful, the approaches taken are framed very much within psychiatric and clinical definitions and understandings of both disordered eating and transgender identity, with consequences that in some cases are detrimental to the scope and outcomes.
Moving away from the approaches that characterise this body of work, the research I propose draws upon work on the body and embodiment to explore relationships with food and eating in their profoundly embodied aspects in order to explore the role that food performs for people of transgender experience, particularly in terms of the navigation of the powerful social, cultural and medical discourses about trans bodies that continue to circulate with tremendous influence.
I am currently in receipt of an Economic and Social Research Council +3 PhD studentship.
BA (Joint Hons) Drama and English Literature (First Class, University of Manchester)
MA Gender and Women’s Studies (Distinction, Lancaster University)