Edited Collection: RuPedagogies of Realness: Teaching and Learning in RuPaul’s Drag Race and its Paratextual Cultures

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Lindsay Bryde/Tommy Mayberry
contact email: 

Edited Collection scheduled for publication with McFarland

Eds. Lindsay Bryde (Mandl School, the College of Applied Health) and Tommy Mayberry (University of Guelph)

“[Drag queens] ‘mother’ one another, ‘house’ one another, ‘rear’ one another, and the resignification of the family through these terms is not a vain or useless imitation, but the social and discursive building of community, a community that binds, cares, and teaches, that shelters and enables.” (137)

  • Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter (Routledge 1993: 137)

 “[RuPaul’s Drag Race] has opened up and educated the minds of many people who were ignorant to the world of drag and has made equality and respect a possibility for those involved.”

  • Carmen Carrera, Model, Actress, Top 5 RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 3 (2011)[1]

 “I may be the host of this show, but you, all of you, are my teachers.”

    • RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 10, episode 13, “Reunited” (2018)


Whether it is from quirky post-secondary puns in the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race (when RuPaul introduces a mini challenge to the competing queens with “Well hello, students. Professor Ru here. It’s time for a little pop quiz”), or to Oprah’s message to RuPaul on the tenth season’s Grand Finale episode where she congratulates the accomplishment of Drag Race’s influence and its “role in fostering a global message of inclusion and accepting individuals for just being their authentic selves,” it is undeniable that RuPaul’s Drag Race has, over the past decade, changed the cultural landscape we live in. And with the reality TV show moving to a mainstream channel in 2017 and onto streaming platforms such as Netflix in 2018, our students are binge-watching and devouring episode after episode and participating in, if not embodying, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s knowledge, skills, and values – it is not uncommon to hear in our classrooms now, while solving problems on the whiteboard or circulating during group activities, our students telling each other “You betta work!” or calling out “Vaaanjie! Miss Vanjie!” Henry Giroux might refer to this as consequent of the power of public pedagogy. And it is through this lens of public pedagogy (what Giroux describes as the “performative practice embodied in the lived interactions among educators, audiences, texts, and institutional formations” through his challenging of “the presupposition that the classroom is the exclusive site in which pedagogy becomes a relevant object of analysis”[2]) that we are bringing together a collection of essays investigating teaching and learning in RuPaul’s Drag Race and its paratextual cultures.

 We invite abstracts for chapters on RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the paratextual cultures surrounding them both, broadly construed. Chapters on or connected to intersections of RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Pedagogy, Education, and/or SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) are particularly encouraged. Possible chapter topics and foci might include, but are not limited to:

  •  Social Media, Fandom, Celebrity Culture
  • Translation Studies and International Studies
  • Games Studies and Digital Humanities
  • Classroom Best Practices, Experiential Learning, Creative Assessments
  • Intersections of Oppression, Social Justice, and Politics
  • Intercultural Identities and Experiences (race, age, ability, sex, gender, religion, faith, class, wealth, weight, size, language, family, etc.)
  • Music, Fashion, Branding, Consumerism
  • Course Design and Curriculum Development
  • Drag Kings, Bio/Faux Queens, and Indigenous/Two-Spirit Ways of Being
  • #DragRace and Social Media Influences
  • RuPaul’s Personal Biases Influencing the Show and Education of the Audience
  • The Queens After their Seasons and their New Roles as Ambassadors of Drag Race
  • Drag Race Alumni as Teachers/Academics (i.e., Sasha Velour, MFA and Fulbright Scholar, and Alyssa Edwards, Owner and Dance Teacher, Beyond Belief Dance Company – also, RuPaul’s dubbing of Season 11 contestant as “The Reverend Dr. Silky Nutmeg Ganache”)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Spin-off Series – RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked, RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars, RuPaul’s Drag U, The Switch Drag Race, Drag Race Thailand, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Drag Race Canada, and Dancing Queen


Key Dates and Timeline:

  •  Proposals/Abstracts (500 words max.) + Author(s) Bios (150 words max.):
    • September 30th, 2019
  • Invitations for full chapters sent to authors:
    • October 28th, 2019
  • Full chapters submission (6000-8000 words, not including references, in MLA style with footnotes):
    • April 13th, 2020

Please e-mail submissions and queries to RuPedagogy@gmail.com.

[1] Facebook update. 31 March 2014. https://www.facebook.com/carmencarrerafans/posts/679959392050537

[2] Giroux, Henry A. “Cultural Studies, Public Pedagogy, and the Responsibility of Intellectuals.” Communications and Critical/Cultural Studies, vol. 1, iss. 1, 2004, pp. 59-79. 61.