The Cultural Impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Why Are We All Gagging?

Edited by Cameron Crookston

The Cultural Impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Edited by Cameron Crookston

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

240 pages | 11 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $106.50 ISBN: 9781789382563 Will Publish February 2021 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe

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.


Part I: Audiences and Fan Culture

  1. Twerk It & Werk It: The Impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Local Underground Drag Cultures - Joshua Rivers
  2. “Change the Motherfucking World!”: The (Re)Emergence of Activism in RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag Communities - Ashlynn d’Harcourt
  3. Queering Africa: Reading BeBe Zahara Benet - 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 Backwards 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 Towards 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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