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Title: Reframing drag performance : beyond theorisations of drag as subverting or upholding the status quo
Author: Stokoe, Kayte
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 7477
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Since the publication of Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America in 1972, drag performance has been an object of fascination for many French and Anglo-American queer and feminist theorists. Employing an intersectional, transfeminist approach, I explore central preoccupations traversing diverse theories of drag, focusing particularly on three issues: the relationship between drag and performativity, the assumption that a drag performer’s gender differs from the gender they perform on stage, and the positioning of drag as necessarily either subversive or reactionary. Analysing the flaws and benefits of these conceptual trends as they appear in a representative selection of French and Anglo-American queer and feminist theoretical texts, I challenge the perception of drag as subverting or upholding the status quo, suggesting that this understanding creates reductive generalisations and cannot account for the diversity and complexity of many current drag scenes. Further, I contest the definitional focus on a presumed opposition between the gender of the performer and the gender they perform on stage. Although a performer’s gender can shape their experience and understanding of drag performance, the focus on this presumed opposition erases certain performers’ identities and distracts from what is actually happening on stage. While my first two chapters concentrate on selected queer and feminist theorizations of drag performance, my final chapter considers the relationship between Butlerian gender parody, intramural parody, and extramural satire in Rachilde’s Monsieur Vénus, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and Monique Wittig’s Le Corps lesbien. Here, I develop the frame of ‘textual drag’ to describe the interactions of these forms of parody and satire in these texts, while highlighting their authors’ interrogations of norms of gender performance, gender identity, and embodiment. I then conclude by demonstrating how existing insights into drag performance can be combined with my own findings to create a particularizing, transfeminist approach to drag.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)