Theory Sessions

CSTC Theory Sessions presents: Trilogy III. New Gender Gospel 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon a Time 

 Theory-Sessions-Winter-2022.jpegThe narrative of Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise presents a commitment to radical singularity. I have often thought of it as a therapeutic work of art: both for its creator to work through his neuroses, and for its fans, who become the series’ hysterical subjects, demanding answers to its ambiguous conclusion(s). While to elucidate here what makes Evangelion a work of radical singularity would constitute a spoiler alert, my presentation will show how this concept bolsters an understanding of Anno’s creative choices for the show and film(s)’ endings.

But that, as they say, is only half the story. I have a personal interest in the concept of radical singularity. Three years ago, I began transitioning, coming out as a trans woman after having lived as cisgender man for most of my life. This sudden change led me to create my own therapeutic projects: a talk where I attempted to articulate what it meant to become a woman, “my own woman,” in January 2020, and a “sequel,” a further consideration of what it means to relate to other women, and to receive “a woman’s education,” in January 2021. This past year, due to a combination of medical and psychological reasons, I have taken the hard decision to detransition, or more accurately due to my post-surgical circumstances, retransition into someone who passes for a cisgender male. I playfully call this state my “ex-cis-tence.” Having lived through my own experience of radical singularity, I hope to show how Evangelion has helped me cope with these circumstances through a demonstration of auto-theory.

Bio: Chris Burke is a fifth-year PhD student at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. His work is about the relationship between cinema and philosophy, focusing on how the use of philosophical and theoretical ideas can rejuvenate the practice of film criticism. He also likes cats. This presentation is the third in a trilogy of talks starting with his January 2020 talk All These Women: A Year in Transition, A Year in Film and his 2021 talk The Eyes with Two Faces: Culture/Transition Diary #2.

The Theory Sessions are a student-run tradition at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. They promote interdisciplinary research across the campus, providing students and faculty with the opportunity to present their work and engage in lively discussions. We welcome all topics and enjoy presenting an eclectic range of scholarship. We have held sessions from scholars in a wide range of disciplines such as computer science, medical science, philosophy, English literature, women’s studies, sociology, political science, visual arts, art history, psychology, history, and more. 

The presentations are 20 minutes long and are often on the core research topics of students and faculty at the Theory Centre. We also welcome students and faculty from other departments to submit their papers. Following the presentation, at least one designated respondent will initiate a discussion with the presenter. Anyone attending the session is welcome to join this discussion period. These will typically last 20-30 minutes.   

Theory Sessions facilitate an academically rigorous environment to present cohesive and cogent thoughts on subjects that our speakers are genuinely passionate about. Our sessions aim to bring forward meaningful and productive discussions. Theory Sessions provides a rich opportunity to develop papers for publication, prepare for conferences, and develop performance art or presentation skills. We encourage you to have fun and experiment in our community of curious and caring thinkers.  

Who can do Theory Sessions?

Students and faculty in the Theory Centre are given priority for sessions; however, we also encourage people from other departments to send us your work. We will make every effort to accommodate as many sessions as possible.  

If you are interested in presenting, please send an email with an abstract of approximately 200 words, and a brief 100 word bio to Please address your submission to Jevonne (Jevi) Peters and Chris Austin. Your abstract and bio will be used to announce your session to the university community.