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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

The Cultural Impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Why Are We All Gagging?

This edited volume is an exploration of the social, cultural, political, and commercial implications of the trailblazing reality television series RuPaul’s Drag Race. Going beyond mere analysis of the show itself, the contributors interrogate the ways RuPaul’s Drag Race has affected queer representation in media, examining its audience, economics, branding, queer politics, and every point in between.

Since its groundbreaking and subversive entry into the reality television complex in 2009, the show has had profound effects on drag and the cultures that surround it. Bringing together scholarship across disciplines—including cultural anthropology, media studies, linguistics, sociology, marketing, and theater and performance studies—the collection offers rich academic analysis of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and its lasting influence on fan cultures, queer representation, and the very fabric of drag as an art form in popular cultural consciousness.

240 pages | 11 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2

Media Studies

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"Gag-worthy. . . . The Cultural Impact of RuPaul's Drag Race turns a fierce lewk without overriding any of the iconic moments served by its predecessors. . . . Condragulations, Cameron Crookston—you're safe! And lest we forget: such safety constitutes a strong recommendation to buy this book, because the true tea is that the mere existence of an increasing number of scholarly treatments of Drag Race is the most gag-worthy thing of all."


"I'm gagged and you will be too! You'll never watch RuPaul's Drag Race the same again after reading this insightful and provocative book."

Joe E. Jeffreys, drag historian

"With this anthology there is finally, in one place, a collection of essays with both chronological perspective and diversity of approach, from consumerism and political economy to aesthetics and origins to activism and identity. Between its covers lies a richness and passion for the subject worthy of Drag Race itself."

Bruce Drushel, Miami University

Table of Contents

1. Twerk It & Werk It: The Impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Local Underground Drag Scenes - Joshua Rivers
2. ’Change the Motherfucking World!’: The Possibilities and Limitations of Activism in RuPaul’s Drag Race - Ash Kinney d’Harcourt
3. Queering Africa: Bebe Zahara Benet’s "African" Aesthetics and Performance - Lwando Scott
4. ’Heather has Transitioned’: Transgender and Non-Binary Contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race - K. Woodzick
5. How Drag Race Created a Monster: The Future of Drag and the Backward Temporality of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula - Aaron J. Stone
6. RuPaul’s Drag Race: Between Cultural Branding and Consumer Culture - Mario Campana and Katherine Duffy
7. RuPaul’s Franchise: Moving Toward a Political Economy of Drag Queening - Ray LeBlanc
8. Legend, Icon, Star: Cultural Production and Commodification in RuPaul’s Drag Race - Laura Friesen
9. Repetition, Recitation and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo: Miss Vanjie and the Culture-Producing Power of Performative Speech in RuPaul’s Drag Race - Allan S. Taylor
10. It’s Too Late to Rupaulogize: The Lackluster Defense of an Occasional Unlistener - Timothy Oleksiak
11. ’This is a Movement!’: How RuPaul Markets Drag Through DragCon Keynote Addresses - Carl Schotmiller

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