Glitter, Glamour, and Grit: Drag Celebrity and Queer Community

Due Date: 03-01-2023

This edited collection aims to intervene in critical conversations in drag studies from the perspective that drag can be a coalitional practice, promoting acts of resistance and creating community through performance. We are interested in the idea of community as an actionable project organized by and centered on drag performance. While we are open to research about famous drag performers and their influence, we especially seek proposals that take seriously the local politics, aesthetics, and culture of drag, even as these are in conversation with mass and social media and situated in complex transnational contexts. We value and welcome critiques of drag celebrities contributing to the gentrification of local drag markets; work that interrogates the racial, gender, and class politics of drag venues; and other manifestations of power in drag scenes.

We aim to collaborate with scholars who want their work to circulate widely beyond academia and who might contribute to related programming on college campuses, gay bars, Pride events, and other community spaces. We wish to create a community-centered work of scholarship that offers a blueprint for drag resistance not only to scholars and students but also to performers, fans, and queer communities looking to meet this politically perilous moment with glitter, glamor, and grit.

Possible lines of inquiry across time periods and disciplines could include:

  • What do attacks on drag performances and programs have to do with anti-trans legislation, anti-Blackness, and white nationalism?
  • How have genderfuck performers and drag kings been impacted by shifts in the drag economy?
  • How do drag performers maintain and manage celebrity on local, national, and global scales?
  • How do drag performers navigate the ongoing criminalization of drag?
  • What role does spectacle play in drag performance and in constructing a persona?
  • How do queer kinships and drag families make queer histories and community infrastructures legible and accessible?
  • What strategies do local performers employ to meet or challenge the expectations placed on them by popular culture?
  • In what ways do drag performers function as community organizers and stage queer resistance?

Abstracts of 300–500 words will be due on 1 March 2023. If your paper is selected, full drafts will be due in March 2024. Please submit your abstract to Nino Testa and Catherine Evans at with the subject line “Drag Submission.”