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Wednesday, April 26 • 10:15am - 10:35am
What A Drag: A Look At The Past, Present, And Potential Future Of Drag Performances

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A practice that dates back to Ancient Greece, Drag performance took a new life in the 20th century within the queer community. Drag queening and kinging became a popular way of expressing one's sexuality in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1990s, Jennie Livingston capitalised on the drag movement with her film Paris Is Burning, giving the world a look into a counterculture which was not well known and popularizing drag as entertainment to the entire world. The documentary and its look into the depths of a specific drag community changed the way drag is produced, making way for TV shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race which illustrate the adoption of drag as mainstream entertainment for individuals outside of the queer community. This change in production and audience had a profound impact in the safe spaces which drag had created and opened up channels for people who did not understand the importance of drag to profit from it. This study examines drag through historical, contemporary, and future perspectives, focusing on its positive aspects as well as the negative effects its popularization and exploitation have had on LGBTQ+ people, the feminist movement, and the perpetuation of gender roles. The research will revolve around Livingston’s film and Ru Paul’s Drag Race, as well as participant observation in various queer spaces that host drag performances to compare the current drag movement and previous drag movements. The comparison of the movements will provide a window into the evolution of drag culture and a prediction of the changes to come.


Wednesday April 26, 2017 10:15am - 10:35am
221 Karpen Hall

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