Word: Transubstantiate

According to Merriam-Webster Online, transubstantiation has two definitions: 1) an act or instance of transubstantiating or being transubstantiated, and 2) the miraculous change by which according to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox dogma the eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine. This first definition requires further unpacking. M-W Online defines transubstatiate as "to change into another substance."

Butler uses this word in reference to the change undergone by those who participate in the drag ball in Paris is Burning. The ball serves as a way for its participants to attain an "idealized domain of gender and race" (134). Achieveing this domain is the desire of the participants. Butler goes on to posit that the camera acts as a vehicle for transubstantiation (135). Then Butler raises a question concerning the power of the person operating the camera, as they are in control of its transubstantive power and are exploiting the participants desire for transubstantiation (135). This point reminded me of the second defition of transubstation, which involves the eucharist. Do those who preside over the eucharist share a similar power to the person wielding the camera? Are they too exploiting a desire for transubstantiation?

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