Coffee Conversation: Do drag queens support or subvert normative gender?

Ru Paul’s Drag Race

Dr. David Gudelunas, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Tampa, led a coffee conversation on Thursday on the disruptive possibilities of drag culture. Coffee conversations ask students to participate in a dialogue rather than listen to a lecture; this one was organized around the question: Do drag queens support or subvert normative gender? As part of this event, students talked about much more than just drag, addressing issues such as “Who taught you to behave ‘like a girl’ or ‘behave like a boy,’ and what were you taught that means?” They debated whether or not shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race reified, challenged, or complicated gendered expectations.

Dr. Gudelunas leading a discussion on drag culture.

Dr. Gudelunas researches in the areas of emerging media technologies, gender, sexuality, and communication. He is a widely published scholar and the author of “Confidential to America: Newspaper Advice Columns and Sexual Education” and co-editor of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Shifting Visibility of Drag Culture (Palgrave). Gudelunas serves on the editorial boards of Sexuality & Culture and QED and has appeared in local and national media including MSNBC, The Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Guidance: Proposing a Symposium

Have you ever thought to yourself: I wish we had more symposia about [fill in the blank]. Well, why don’t you consider proposing a speaker, yourself?

If you have a speaker you’d like to present for a symposium, these are the steps:

  1. Determine if they have credentials. Are they well-published in their field? Are they excellent scholars/writers/scientists/etc.?
  2. Gather information about the potential speaker, including
  • Speaker’s name:
  • Speaker’s job title:
  • Speaker’s proposed topic:
  • Speaker’s website / link to vita (or attach as .pdf):
  • Speaker’s honorarium/speaking fee:
  • Speaker’s flight cost (estimated):

Then, send this information to Dr. Kacy Tillman, ktillman@ut.edu. It’s that easy!

Proposals for

Fall proposals must be made by April 1 of the semester prior to the event.
Spring proposals must be made by November 1 of the semester prior to the event.