Queering Drag: Redefining the Discourse of Gender-Bending


Product Details

Indiana University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.6 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Meredith Heller is Lecturer of Queer Studies in Women's and Gender Studies at Northern Arizona University.


"Among the many contributions this [book makes] to various fields is its delineation and mapping of the ways in which different forms of gender-bending have helped to create new gender categories of identity, and alternative forms of gender articulations and expressions, which have implications for both how gender is made and enacted, and how gender is lived in the everyday." --Marlon M. Bailey, author of Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit"--Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit

"Through an historic analysis of the discourse and phenomenon of a wide variety of drag performances, Heller asks about the politics of the act and its changing meaning as the assumptions about sex, gender, sex/gender, performance and queerness change." --John M. Sloop, author of Disciplining Gender: Rhetorics of Sex Identity in Contemporary U.S. Culture"--Disciplining Gender: Rhetorics of Sex Identity in Contemporary U.S. Culture

"What do turn-of-the-19th century male impersonators, Chicana activist performers, Black butches, and contemporary drag kings have to do with each other? In Heller's "mistressful" hands, they lead to a more capacious understanding of gender-bending on stage, with the potential to open our eyes to all sorts of ways creative gender is queering the world around us."--Leila Rupp, Feminist Studies University of California, Santa Barbara, coauthor of Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret

"Drawing on a rich body of archival and ethnographic research, Queering Drag: Redefining the Discourse of Gender-Bending (Indiana UP, 2020) illuminates diverse examples of theatrical gender-bending. It shows how, in each case, standard drag discourses do not sufficiently capture the complexity of performers' intents and methods or provide a strong enough foundation for holistically evaluating the impact of this work. Queering Drag offers a redefinition of the genre centralized in the performer's construction and presentation of a "queer" version of hegemonic identity. It also models a new set of tools for analyzing drag as a process of intents and methods enacted to effect specific goals. The book won the 2021 John Leo and Dana Heller Award for Best Book in LGBTQ Studies from the Popular Culture Association and was named one of NBC's "10 LGBTQ books to watch out for in 2020."--Isabel Machado, New Books Network