The Dark Side of Camp Aesthetics : Queer Economies of Dirt, Dust and Patina book cover
1st Edition

The Dark Side of Camp Aesthetics
Queer Economies of Dirt, Dust and Patina

ISBN 9780367886905
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

"Camp" is often associated with glamour, surfaces and an ostentatious display of chic, but as these authors argue, there is an underside to it that has often gone unnoticed: camp’s simultaneous investment in dirt, vulgarity, the discarded and rejected, the abject. This book explores how camp challenges and at the same time celebrates what is arguably the single most important and foundational cultural division, that between the dirty and the clean. In refocusing camp as a phenomenon of the dark underside as much as of the glamorous surface, the collection hopes to offer an important contribution to our understanding of the cultural politics and aesthetics of camp.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "The dirt doesn’t get any worse": The Alliance of Camp and Dirt

Ingrid Hotz-Davies, Georg Vogt and Franziska Bergmann

Part I: Upside – Downside – Upside: Camp’s Dialectic of Dirt and Beauty

1. The Jewel in the Gutter: Camp and the Incorporation of Dirt

Ingrid Hotz- Davies

2. Camp Conquests:

Deconstructing the Sublime in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Christian Lassen

3. "The Odd and Gory Things in Life":

Roy Raz’ Music Videos and Camp Aesthetics

Gero Bauer

4. Camp as a Critical Strategy in And the Spring Comes

Zairong Xiang

Part II: Trash, Dirt and Leftovers: The Oscillations of Matter

5. The "Available" Joe Brainard

David Bergman

6. Dirty Sound: The Camp Materialism of Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls

Kristina Pia Hofer

7. Camping Out in the Detritus of the 1960s Queer Underground:

The "Moldy" Fantasies of Jack Smith

Ronald Gregg

8. A Camp Fairy Tale:

The Dirty Class of John Waters’ Desperate Living

Giulia Palladini

9. Malapropos Desires: The Cinematic Oikos of Grey Gardens

Georg Vogt

Part III: Debris of the Past

10. Camp Patina: Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, Transvestism and Gründerzeit Furniture

Franziska Bergmann

11. Camping Indigeneity: The Queer Politics of Kent Monkman

Astrid M. Fellner

12. Innocence Unprotected: Camp in Yugoslavian Cinema

Milisava Petković

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Ingrid Hotz-Davies is Professor of English Literature and Gender Studies and co-director of the Centre for Gender and Diversity Research at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Georg Vogt is Lecturer at the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Franziska Bergman is Junior Professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Trier, Germany.


"This collection makes a compelling case for camp’s materiality and affinity with the filthy and the queer. Engaging with and moving beyond previous Anglo-American debates (What defines camp taste? Is camp queer?), the contributors offer a more expansive range of examples of camp strategies, economies, and modalities than previously available, and demonstrate the urgency of reparative queer ways of reading and attaching to popular cultural texts." -Nicholas de Villiers, University of North Florida and author of Opacity and the Closet: Queer Tactics in Foucault, Barthes, and Warhol

"This collection of essays gives insight into interlocking complexities of liminality of camp aesthetics and queer politics of bad taste. In the critical and comprehensive discussions, the authors exhibit varied approaches from literary studies to film studies, providing a valuable archive of camp’s performative practices and its alliance with abjection. The book is an essential contribution to cultural studies that explores the fascinating and open-ended world of camp sensibility." -Justyna Stepien, Szczecin University, Poland