RuPaul keynote speech, DragCon 2015. Photo by Carl Schottmiller
RuPaul keynote speech, DragCon 2015. Photo by Carl Schottmiller
RuPaul Pop-up Shop at Sweet! Hollywood store. Photo by Carl Schottmiller
RuPaul Pop-up Shop at Sweet! Hollywood store. Photo by Carl Schottmiller

Reading RuPaul’s Drag Race: Queer Memory, Camp Capitalism, and RuPaul’s Drag Empire 

This dissertation undertakes an interdisciplinary study of the competitive reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The first two chapters study the integral role that Camp plays on the show, as a form of queer social memory and a set of economic strategies. The latter two chapters draw upon ethnographic data gathered from over 100 interviews in order to analyze the political implications of RuPaul’s expanding Drag Race economy for fans and drag artists. A revised and expanded book is forthcoming.

“Excuse My Beauty!": Camp Referencing and Memory Activation on RuPaul’s Drag Race

This chapter analyzes the Camp references on RuPaul's Drag Race as forms of queer social memory. I argue that RuPaul's use of Camp references to LGBTQ and popular culture work to confer status onto the referenced materials and create multiple narratives for audiences able to decode the reference. Using the case study of Stephanie Yellowhair's phrase "Excuse My Beauty," I address the potential political and economic ramifications that arise when audiences fail to decode Camp references and unintentionally "forget" this history.

The anthology is available for purchase; chapter PDF available upon request

Sontag
Reading American Horror Story

“Wir Sind Alle Freaks”: Elevating White Gay Male Oppression Through Representations of Disability

This chapter analyzes how the Freakshow season of American Horror Story represents disability through freak show history. I analyze the season’s narrative along with interviews with the disabled cast members in order to explore how the show addresses ableism in a way that deemphasizes intersectionality and foregrounds white gay men’s oppression.  

The anthology is available for purchase; chapter PDF available upon request

If These Stalls Could Talk: Gendered Identity and Performativity through Latrinalia

The history of latrinalia (restroom graffiti) scholarship spans disciplines and generations: from Alfred Kinsey to Alan Dundes, previous scholars analyze restroom writing as revealing inherent masculine and feminine characteristics indicative of a binary sex/gender system. By engaging contemporary theories of gender, this work analyzes how subjects may uphold hegemonic notions of gender or deconstruct these notions by asserting new, potentially resistant queer subjectivities through latrinalia.

The book is available for purchase

Latrinalia