Inside Killjoy’s Kastle

Dykey Ghosts, Feminist Monsters, and Other Lesbian Hauntings

Edited by Allyson Mitchell and Cait McKinney

Inside Killjoy’s Kastle

Edited by Allyson Mitchell and Cait McKinney

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

280 pages
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780774861571 Published September 2019 For sale in USA only

Hundreds of years of ridicule, persecution, erasure, misunderstanding, and institutionalization could put anyone in a bad mood. Killjoy invites you into her kastle for a queer exorcism and celebration of the past.

Lesbian feminist histories can have a haunting effect on the present. This book explores the making and experience of Killjoy’s Kastle, an immersive walk-through installation and performance artwork (by Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue). Inspired by Evangelical Christian hell houses, the exhibition has been staged in four cities so far – Toronto, London, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia – engaging thousands in interactive encounters with the spirits that haunt feminist and queer history. Where traditional hell houses set out to scare and convert, Killjoy’s Kastle cheekily aims to provoke and pervert. Inside Killjoy’s Kastle extends and reflects on the theoretical and political legacies of the installation in chapters by queer and feminist scholars and in vignettes by participating artists. The many colourful photos in the book also bring the kastle to life, offering an important visual context.


Lesbian Rule: Welcome to the Hell House / Cait McKinney and Allyson Mitchell


1 Scaling Up and Sharing Out Dyke Culture: Killjoy’s Kastle’s Haunted Block Party / Heather Love

  • Lesbianizing the Institution: The Haunting Effects of Killjoy Hospitality at the Art Gallery of York University / Emelie Chhangur

2 Feminist Killjoys (and Other Wilful Subjects) / Sara Ahmed

  • Killjoy in the ONE Archives: Activating Los Angeles’s Queer Art and Activist Histories / David Evans Frantz


3 Inside Job: Learning, Collaboration, and Queer-Feminist Contagion in Killjoy’s Kastle / Helena Reckitt

  • Valerie Solanas as the Goddamned Welcoming Committee / Felice Shays
  • Valerie Solanas Script

4 Playing Demented Women’s Studies Professor Tour Guide, or Performing Monstrosity in Killjoy’s Kastle / Moynan King

  • Demented Women’s Studies Professor Tour Guide Script
  • The Sound of White Girls Crying / Nazmia Jamal
  • Paranormal Killjoys / Ginger Brooks Takahashi
  • Menstruating Trans Man / Chase Joynt
  • A Ring around Your Finger Is a Cord around Your Genitals! / Chelsey Lichtman
  • Once upon a Time I Was a Riot Ghoul / Kalale Dalton-Lutale
  • Riot Ghoul / Andie Shabbar
  • Inconvenienced / Madelyne Beckles
  • On the Cusp of the Kastle / Karen Tongson

5 Processing Killjoy’s Kastle: A Deep Lez Performance / Ann Cvetkovich


  • Facebook Statements: “We Learn More Every Time We Do This”

6 Reflections of a Real-Life Feminist Killjoy: Ball-Busters and the Recurring Trauma of Intergene

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