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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

Seminar: 21 November 2008 (Chair: Cüneyt Çakirlar, more ... )

A screening and discussion of:

Venus BoyZ (dir. Gabrielle Baur, 2002) 102 min


The last three weeks of the screenings ‘Queering the Film, Filming the Queer’ will investigate drag performativity through different (inter-)cultural contexts. The universe of drag king performers in Baur’s Venus BoyZ (2002), the performative mockumentary of the Turkish transvestite Ceyhan Firat’s self-confession in Kutlug Ataman’s Never My Soul! (2001), and the representation of queer kinship and race relations in Harlem drag culture in Livingstone’s Paris Is Burning (1990) will hopefully function as three case-studies in order to discuss and understand the ontological affinities between drag performativity and Queer as a visual-cultural practice. The further intellectual agenda, here, will be to investigate the political technologies, advantages and costs of documentary-as-genre in representing gender performance. Instead of focusing on a fixed, unitary, milieu of sexuality, Baur’s Venus BoyZ welcomes the spectator into the universe of female masculinities and focuses on the politics of drag king performance per se. The film not merely documents modes in impersonation of masculinity but also critically comments on the hegemonic invisibility, the ‘un-performable performativity’, of normative masculinities, or the asymmetries of feminine and masculine performativities’ (Halberstam 1998: 234).

Suggested Readings:

Halberstam, Judith and Volcano, Del LaGrace. The Drag King Book (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1999).

Halberstam, Judith . Female Masculinity (London: Duke University Press, 1998).

Halberstam, Judith. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives ( New York and London: New York University Press, 2005).

Volcano, Del LaGrace. Sublime Mutations (Konkursbuch Verlag Claudia Gehrke, Impressum: Tubingen/Berlin, 2000).

Volcano, Della Grace. ‘Dynamics of Desire’, Pleasure Principles: Politics, Sexuality and Ethics, edited by Victoria Harwood, David Oswell, Kay Parkinson and Anna Ward (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1993), pp. 90-108.



This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by UCL Mellon Admin

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