Since its 2009 debut, RuPaul’s Drag Race has shifted from a niche American reality show anomaly to an award-winning global success. This one day symposium will examine its international reach with versions of the contest created in the UK, Thailand and Canada alongside, titular host, Rupaul having already hinted at further growth when teasingly asking journalists “how many countries are there?”.

As a major popular culture event, panels will look to ascertain whether Drag Race – as the dominant depiction of drag in this early part of the 21st Century – represents an expansion or the homogenization of this aspect of LGBTQ+ culture. For example, have the geographical diversions within this TV show (journeying from Cameroon to Northern Ireland, South Korea to Puerto Rico) provided an opportunity to showcase localized interpretations, performances or incarnations? Or has this all-conquering drag empire imposed its own hegemony.

We invite abstracts of up to 250 words before the deadline of 1st May 2020.

Possible themes could include (but are not limited to):

  • Race and cultural identities/experiences within Drag Race.
  • The local, regional and global impact of Drag Race on scenes.
  • Social media, fandom and worldwide drag celebrity.
  • International marketing/consumerism of drag stardom: from DragCon to related TV offerings (Dancing Queen, Drag U, The Trixie and Katya Show, Drag SOS, Dragula, etc).
  • Drag Race and its place within global LGBTQ+ history.
  • The lexicon of drag and developments of language/vocabulary.

Please send abstracts by 1st May 2020 to Dr Danny Cookney and Dr Kirsty Fairclough