Cam Cannon

Headshot of PhD student Cam Cannon

Cam Cannon

PhD Student

Cam Cannon is a doctoral candidate in the American Studies program here at GWU. Cam's dissertation, tentatively titled "Standard: Trans Activism and the the Struggle for Gender-Affirming Care in the U.S.," is a social, cultural, and institutional history of the Standards of Care for the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People (SOC), the earliest and still most frequently cited set of diagnostic and treatment guidelines for gender-affirming care in the U.S. Cam is particularly interested in the ways in which trans communities and individuals have attempted to resist, influence, and improve the SOC from its first iteration in 1979 to its eighth revision, released in 2022. In addition to trans studies, Cam is interested in political economy, the history of capitalism, and science and technology studies.

Where did you go for undergrad and what did you study?

 I got my BA in Philosophy at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC and my MA in Ethics and Applied Philosophy at University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Why did you choose GW? 

While I loved studying Philosophy, I found that the field could be rather constricting, limiting opportunities to draw as needed from history, media studies, etc. I was drawn to the GWU program because of the potential for interdisciplinarity, the faculty, and the opportunity to take classes in the consortium.

Is there one book/piece of media that inspired you to pursue the field of American Studies? If so, which one and why? 

This is such a tough question! I have to cheat and go with two. I read Herbert Marcuse's One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society in undergrad and it completely blew my mind. While many may not call it an American Studies book, I think Marcuse gives a fascinating portrait of advanced U.S. American capitalism by refusing to constrain his analysis to one particular discipline. Second is Christina Sharpe's Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects. I can honestly say that this book changed not only my approach to academic studies of U.S. American slavery and its "psychic reverberations," (Sharpe's phrase) but also how I see myself, my family, my personal history, the place where I grew up, my overall positionally in the United case you can't tell, I highly recommend this book to literally everyone.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

 My partner and I found a great campsite in the mountains of Western North Carolina a while ago that was directly on a lake, well-shaded, and had a hammock. 

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Another tough question. I have to go with Lucinda Williams' Live at the Fillmore because it has gotten me through many tough times. She is one of my favorite artists and Live at the Fillmore contains most of my most-loved songs by her.