NeMLA 2021 Roundtable: "The Cultures of RuPaul's Drag Race as Innovation"

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

52nd Annual Northeast Modern Language Association Convention

March 11-14, 2021

Philadelphia, PA

 In 2009, RuPaul’s Drag Race began as a niche, American, reality TV show on the Logo TV network (aimed primarily at LGBTQ+ viewers), providing a small, traditionally inaccessible, glimpse into the world of drag culture and queer spaces. But even the low-budget quality of its first season seemed to communicate an attitude about the series’ long-term viability. However, the increasing popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its behind-the-scenes offshoot Untucked, have created an entertainment juggernaut for the drag empire that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, which now includes conventions in New York, Los Angeles, and London; multiple spin-off TV shows in the United States, Thailand, Canada, and Great Britain; international web series like The Trixie and Katya Show, UNHhhhDragula, and Fashion Photo RuView; and a move for the original show to the more mainstream and widely accessible VH-1 television network. Becoming such a zeitgeist has had incredible consequences for the culture of drag and its audiences.

This roundtable will consider all aspects of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its global influence in order to examine how this show has transformed the discourse around the humanities including the following established categories: race and cultural identities/experiences; the local, regional and global impact of Drag Race on scenes; social media, fandom and worldwide drag celebrity; international marketing/consumerism of drag stardom; global LGBTQ+ history; the lexicon of drag and developments of language/vocabulary; fashion and performativity as sites of critical inquiry; and multimodality and its relationship to art and aesthetics.


Please submit a 300 word abstract and a 100 word bio through the NeMLA submission page:

Please direct any questions to the panel chairs, Dr. Allison Parker ( and Dr. Iliana Rocha (, via emai

Deadline for Submission:  September 30, 2020

Information about Abstract Submission Guidelines and Information:

Information about the 52nd NeMLA Conference: