Drag Kings and Queens of Higher Education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In 2016 I authored the first UK drag module in Higher Education which was validated by Edge Hill University. The module garnered a vast amount of media attention. Initially the module offered was a critical reading of sexuality in performance in addition to using what is often termed ‘low’ art aspects of performance which emerge from popular or alternative culture, rather than from high art sources. The module was as a rediscovery of all I felt had been lacking in my own (in)formal drag performance. It was a rejuvenation of a performance form that I felt had been edited out of my professional performance career and research and somehow needed to be brought into the academy. This optional module analyzed relationships between performance, gender, sexualities and identity, and the ways in which performance might be deployed in the service of specific political and cultural agendas. Through a consideration of the performativity of drag performance, the module considered a variety of topics which included, but were not limited to: drag performance, costume, lipsyncing and the use of humour. Additionally, the module was underpinned by wider theories and histories of sexuality; performativity; gay and lesbian theatre; trans identities; drag; HIV/AIDS; activism. Final year undergraduate students undertaking this module considered the ways in which performance intersected with other identity-forming discourses such as gender, ethnicity and class.

The overall purpose of this paper is to reflect critically on my practice as research projects on drag and how this led to the authoring of a higher education module. It will acknowledge the proliferation of interest in drag kings and queens in media, performance and academic circles. By building on the knowledge and understanding acquired through the study of various drag artists, political queer arts activists, LGBT festivals and performances the paper shall further discuss the scholarly respect and the media concern: is drag performance a serious enough academic subject area of study?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Drag Practices & Performers
Subtitle of host publicationDrag in a Changing Scene
EditorsMark Edward, Stephen Farrier
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen Drama
Volume1
ISBN (Electronic)9781350082953
ISBN (Print)9781350082946
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Publication series

NameEngage
PublisherBloomsbury

Keywords

  • Drag Performance
  • Performance Evaluation

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    Dr MARK EDWARD

    Person: Academic

    Cite this

    EDWARD, MARK. (Accepted/In press). Drag Kings and Queens of Higher Education. In M. Edward, & S. Farrier (Eds.), Contemporary Drag Practices & Performers: Drag in a Changing Scene (Vol. 1). (Engage). Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.