Popular Culture and Philosophy

A blog for contributors and editors by Series Editor, George A. Reisch

RuPaul’s Drag Race and Philosophy, CFA

Posted on | September 25, 2018

Call For Abstracts: RuPaul’s Drag Race and Philosophy

Abstracts are sought for a volume in Open Court’s Philosophy and Pop Culture Series on RuPaul’s Drag Race. With its 10th season concluding as the most successful yet, RuPaul’s Drag Race has established itself as a major pop-cultural event that mediates drag culture to the broader public. In RuPaul’s own words, we are experiencing the “Golden Age of drag.”

While RuPaul’s Drag Race started out as a competition-based reality TV show, it has since then become much more. The show’s appeal stems from incorporating a huge variety of subcultural practices, norms, and phrases, offering a blend of references of drag, LGBTIQ+, race and other movements based in identity politics with great philosophical potential.

This book aims to lift this potential in combining philosophical exploration with the themes and examples of the show. From issues being discussed on the show directly – theories of gender construction, aesthetics, identity – to interpreting RuPaul’s famous quotes and phrases to taking some practices and occurrences as point of departure for philosophical reflections, RuPaul’s Drag Race offers many docking points for intriguing debate and surprising new approaches to old philosophical problems.

Thus, we invite thoughtful and thought-provoking contributions from all philosophical perspectives and traditions that pertain to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Possible chapter topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Spilling the T: Drag Race on Truth and Truthfulness
  • You’re Born Naked and the Rest is Drag: Philosophical Approaches to Identity and Self-Perception
  • If you don’t love yourself…: Self-love, self-criticism, self-hatred
  • She done already done had herses: Theories of Justice and Injustice
  • Sashay Away: How to Deal with Loss and Death
  • Call Me Mother: Drag Race and Different Concepts of Motherhood
  • Can I get an Amen?: Religion and Drag Race
  • Eleganza Extravaganza: Hedonism, Epicurus and the Good Life
  • The Realness: Ontological Questions in Drag Race
  • Reading is Fundamental: Speech Acts and Philosophy of Language
  • Fierceness and Virtue Theory
  • Lip-Syncing as Art Form in its Own Right
  • Flazéda: Theories on the Meaning of Words
  • Drag as a Performance Art
  • Facts are Facts: Postmodernism, Post-Truth, and Relativity
  • Drag ‘Race’: The Role of Racial Identity and Dynamics in Drag Race
  • Skinny Legend and Obese Icon: Body Aesthetics, Body Images
  • Drag Race and the Perpetuation of Harmful Female Stereotypes
  • Plastic Surgery and Fairness in Competition
  • Ornacia and Theories of Mind
  • Drag Race Between Irreverence and Offensiveness
  • Everybody Say Love!: Emotions, Feelings and Affection

Contributor Guidelines and Schedule:

Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words prepared for blind-review to hendrik.kempt@uni-siegen.de and meganvolpert@gmail.com, with a biographical note of no more than 200 words within the body of your email by November 1st.

Chapters are expected to be between 3000 and 6000 words, written in an engaging style accessible to an intelligent lay audience (no unexplained philosophical concepts or theories, no footnotes, and restrained use of philosophical jargon).

Notifications of acceptance sent out by November 15th, 2018, with first drafts due by February 1st, 2019.


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Since its inception in 2000, Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy® series has brought high-quality philosophy to general readers by critically exploring the meanings, concepts, and puzzles within television shows, movies, music and other icons of popular culture.