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Sunday, April 23 • 11:15am - 12:45pm
Performing Politics

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This panel is interested in the unsung race, gender, and sexual politics that bodies articulate in popular venues that are not intended as expressly political or critical cultural spaces. Focusing on a diverse set of entertainers from the genres of blues, R&B, and pop, these three presentations draw from performance studies, queer of color critique, and women of color feminisms’ shared attunement to the corporeal and the affective to understand the performing body’s role on the popular stage. The papers of this panel explore the performing body as an index of unspoken historical moments and cultural feelings, prompting us to ask: how do these artists enable us to envision different modes of engagement with the realm of the popular? Elaine Kathryn Andres illustrates the way in which Afro Filipina singer Sugar Pie DeSanto’s ahead-of-her-time performance of the “sassy, raunchy, [and] saucy” re-narrate the expectations of African American and Filipino corporeality and challenge assumptions of womanhood, sexuality, and urban life in the 1960s. Jessica Pruett’s analysis of One Direction inspired drag king ensemble Every Direction examines the group’s engagement with both lesbian subcultures and boy band fan communities, troubling the separation of lesbian identity from popular culture. Brady James Forrest brings together melancholia and Gallant’s live performance at LA Pride in the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse nightclub to show how dancing acts as a type of melancholia, a way of attending to loss and violence before moving forward.

Elaine Kathryn Andres, “’Use What You Got’: Sugar Pie DeSanto’s Bodily Performance of Pleasure”
Jessica Pruett, “I’m With the (Boi) Band: One Direction and Lesbian Fan Culture”
Brady James Forrest, “Drake, Gallant, and Pulse: Melancholic Dancing and the Refusal to Run”


Sonnet Retman

Sonnet Retman is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington. She is the author of Real Folks: Race and Genre in the Great Depression (Duke 2011). Her work on race, gender and genre has appeared in journals such as American Literature... Read More →

avatar for Elaine Kathryn Andres

Elaine Kathryn Andres

TwitterElaine Kathryn Andres is a third year doctoral student in the program in Culture and Theory at UC Irvine. Her research examines the nexus of race, gender, sexuality, and place in popular music and its visual culture. Her current work focuses on the performance of racial, ethnic, an... Read More →
avatar for Brady James Forrest

Brady James Forrest

TwitterBrady James Forrest is a PhD student in the Department of English at the George Washington University. Broadly, his research explores visual culture with an attention to crip/queer embodiment and relationality. His current work focuses on a crip/queer phenomenological approach to li... Read More →

Jessica Pruett

Jessica Pruett is a third year doctoral student in Culture and Theory at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include transnational queer and feminist theory, political economy, and mass culture. Her work examines lesbian relationships to mass culture, focusing... Read More →

Sunday April 23, 2017 11:15am - 12:45pm PDT
Learning Labs MoPOP, 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109