1st Edition

Dragging Or, in the Drag of a Queer Life

By Shaka McGlotten Copyright 2022
    166 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    166 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Dragging: Or, In the Drag of a Queer Life is an assemblage of fragments that collectively tell stories about a diverse group of artists and activists for whom drag serves as inspiration, method, object, and aim.

    Methodologically grounded in ethnography, Dragging incorporates auto-theoretical material that lays bare the intimacies of research, teaching, and loving, as well as their painful failures. Drag is more than gender impersonation, and it is more than resistance to norms. It is productively messy and ambivalent, and in these and other ways can serve to attune us to political and aesthetic alternatives to the increasingly widespread desire to be led.

    One of very few books about drag by an anthropologist, and using a uniquely personal approach, Dragging is an ethnography of artists and activists.

     Acknowledgments   Preface  I don’t know how to finish this book   Chicago/Chica Rose   A first note on dragging  "The Master’s Tool": Mysti Seriou Sly  What had happened was I (the subbasement)   The Bride of Palestine: Raafat Hattab  In the drag of queer life  What had happened was II (on not getting started)  Siegessäule drag show  Patsy l’Amour laLove and Luxuria Rosenberg  Warbear   Displacements: Liad Hussein Kantorowicz  What had happened was III (sick and sauna)  Sissy  Svetlana Pall Mall  Trash Deluxe: Kay P. Rinha  "The Most Hated Woman in Israel": Natali Cohen Vaxberg  Galina Port Des Bras/Gil  Dinner with Ms. Davis: Vaginal Davis  Maxxx Pleasure  Nico’s manifesto   What had happened was IV (heartbroken)  Just off Whatsapp  The drag class: In Esther’s wake  Remember the Time: Jed(i)mmanence X  Afterword  Notes  Bibliography


    Shaka McGlotten is Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology at Purchase College-SUNY. They are the author of Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality and dozens of chapters and articles. Their work has been supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Creative Capital|Andy Warhol Foundation, and Data & Society.

    What is it like being a mixed race, non binary anthropologist delving into today’s world of "anarchist organizing, feminism and queer radicalism converged with partying and artmaking?" McGlotten’s book Dragging: Or, In the Drag of a Queer Life is set mostly in Berlin and Israel.  They center not only men performing some version of femininity but also two drag kings and two wildly radical cis gendered women artists.  The book is a fascinating mashup of memoir, interview, ethnographic observation, and cultural theory, following on the work of José Munoz,  Marlon Baily, Lauren Berlant, Eve Sedgwick and others.  McGlotten traces the origins of today’s drag scene from the performances that I documented just before Stonewall in Mother Camp, through the ball scene in Paris is Burning and takes care to set their performers and drag scenes in relation to and contrast with Ru Paul’s commercially successful Drag Race.

    Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Purchase College, author of Mother Camp, Margaret Mead Me Gay, and My Butch Career.

    Riveting, beautiful, and necessary, this book is in no small part a meditation on failure and on what happens when life gets in the way of research. The reality of living in a body—any body, but especially an unwell body, a marginalized body—is one that academia has long refused to confront but can no longer afford to ignore in these fascist times. McGlotten’s "dragging" methods are confrontational and gritty and refuse to shrink in the face of calls for civility and respectability that have become commonplace in U.S. university culture. It is life-affirming work.

    Katie Horowitz, Assistant Professor, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, Davidson College