Niche College Scholarship Blog


Prof Looks Like a Lady: Scholar in Drag Adds Some "Show" to His "Tell"

Prof Looks Like a Lady: Scholar in Drag Adds Some "Show" to His "Tell"
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Wearing 5-inch heels and an even taller wig, Professor Scudura decided to put it all out there for academic discussion in what one might term a "performance lecture". "The Fabulous and Subversive Nature of Drag Performance" was more than a lecture and a lot closer to adult "show and tell". Rather than offer up more dry discourse on the subject, Domenick Scudera brazenly decided to do something much more dramatic.

To best "subvert the traditional symposium structure,” Dr. Scudera dressed in "five-inch high heels, pantyhose, a tight dress, and a mile-high wig" and topped off the look with makeup and false eyelashes. Drag, according to the professor, is a "distinct form of art that brings into focus issues of identity, authority, agency gender variance, and masculine/feminine constructs.” Though he claims that academia symposia and conferences can be "dry, forced, and sometimes unproductive," Dr. Scudera was still somewhat hesitant, asking himself, "Would I be taken seriously?"

What are the stereotypes for professors and how are they maintained? For Dr. Scudera, wearing "professor clothing" is a form of drag. He questions whether wearing "a suit and tie to teach is any different than wearing a dress and heels?" Though during his presentation he had deliberately "held back any opinions…to remove any perception that they [the students] must agree with me to receive good grades," he believes that the students’ disapproval was "code for 'my professor is gay and I am not comfortable with that.'"

Another point of Dr. Scudera's presentation is that of the "diverse facets of identity" that tend to not mix well in other realms. His drag identity, "Summer Clearance," who can be found performing at a gay club or event, will never mix with his identity as a college professor. And vice versa - he does not "carry back" his drag queen identity to the college. He questions whether the separation of the two identities "negates that part of myself in order to be taken seriously as a professor." What Dr. Scudera realizes however, in his experience as both drag queen and professor, is that he cannot be easily compartmentalized simply because students “slam him in their evaluations." Furthermore, he believes that his "authentic self is much more valuable in reaching more students."

Would you be interested in attending this symposium? Why or why not? Leave us your insightful comments below.

Comments (35)
Tracy S 5/9/2020
Drag is not an identity it is a form of entertainment. I would not take a course from a professor who thinks disaproval means the students dont like him bc of his sexual orientation. That is very closed-minded of the prof. Perhaps he likes cross-dressing, that is a fetish and not an identity. Or maybe if drag is part of his "identity" he has some larger issues to resolve and should leave the students out of that.
Michelleine A 12/31/2015
I totally agree with what the professor is teaching even we as teenagers practice a form of drag every day. I can personally say I act like a totally different person depending on the people I am with which is exactly what he did he acts differently at school and differently when he is in drag asa child of a college professor I know this to be true
Prudence M 12/26/2015
It's like when people do demonstrations of the work in class, it's a performance, art to be showcased and appreciated. The professor was brave enough to allow himself to be both admired and critisized for the sake of giving his students a more lasting impression of the "dry" material they'd been learnin in class.
Cindy S 12/8/2015
This would mean a lot to me seeing that I have the potential to work hard in school
Lori C. 12/7/2015
Really, some people shouldn't teach. Anyone remember James Tracy, the Florida Atlantic University Professor shouting conspiracy theories that the Sandy Hook Shooting in Newtown, CT. was a hoax? Now we have a professor dressing in drag to teach a class. Our higher educational system is in need of help.
what drives me and makes me tick is to get a scholarship and study.
sofia 12/4/2015
I would love to attend such a class!!!. What better way there can be to trigger thinking and introspection of our societies stringent mindset in a creative manner. Its easy to talk about "identity" and "freedom" until your own beliefs in these matters are questioned to the core.
Brendan l 12/4/2015
Dude, I'm just trying to make a living.
Pat n 12/3/2015
Why is this even a topic? No, I pay for an education. Learning the topic being taught. NOT viewpoints being pushed and not discussions on controversial subjects. Leave this type of behavior outside of the classroom, where you can do what you wish and pay any related consequences. Seriously, where has common sense and good judgment gone? Just keep it simple and stick to the basics. It is no wonder our college student's mindsets are so off base!
Catherine F 12/2/2015
First off, dressing in drag does not mean one is lesbian or homosexual. Be true to who you are and let the chips fall as they may. I for one would be there to help you up if you are knocked down mentally, verbally or physically. Unless your teaching in the nude it would not distract me personally from your class. I applaud your honesty and I hope you keep on, keeping on!
Alexis M 12/2/2015
I think this is a wonderful way to teach a class. it would definitely keep hold of their attention and maybe even help them learn something valuable. It may seem inappropriate to some but I would definitely attend his symposium. If that professor does not judge his students, then why should they judge him!
Megan Kelley 12/2/2015
Yes I would be interested, because it would be both interesting and educational for me as an individual who is a part of a society in which drag is becoming less of a taboo, and it is important to comprehend that everyone deserves the right to self expression, and how that can cause stereotyping, so this symposium would allow me to develop a deeper empathy for those who genuinely express themselves through cross-dressing
Amina a 12/2/2015
I would attend because my expectations for the lesson they would be bringing to the table would be high.
Dominica R 12/2/2015
I would appreciate the professor's attempt to make the symposium creative, and his bravery to dress like that. But I believe that there is an appropriate time do certain things, and dressing in drag to a symposium is not appropriate. The symposium could have the same discussion without the visual. It may be part of his identity, but he is also a college professor. In life we have to manage our identities, and only share parts that are appropriate for the situation.
Ferris B. 12/2/2015
I weep for the future.
Racheal H. 12/2/2015
I'd personally love to go. This professor is seriously brave.
Julia S 12/1/2015
Of course I would attend the symposium! Why should gender even play a role in this? Why would it matter what I think if my professor is gay or not? If my professor can accept me for who I am then why shouldn't I do the same?
Ashley 12/1/2015
This is scary
Mary C 12/1/2015
yes i would attend. this goes back to the old saying don't judge a book by it's cover. for the person who said they are Christian and doesn't agree with it, I have a question for you. The Ten Commandments state Love thy Neighbor. It doesn't make exceptions.
Elly W. 12/1/2015
I absolutely love this and I would definitely attend! It would be something different out of a normal day and could be very interesting to attend.
James C. 12/1/2015
Careful now, you are actually bordering on free speech if you disagree with anyone who thinks its OK for a teacher of young minds to flaunt his gender id. Disagreeing with the herd could effect your grade.
Jenna H. 12/1/2015
I would gladly attend this symposium because it would provide students with both an intellectual experience while keeping them interested. I personally would find it to be a fun event to be apart of and not a boring lecture that I have to attend. All the more power to Dr. Scudera!
Jenna H. 12/1/2015
I would gladly attend this symposium because it would provide students with both an intellectual experience while keeping them interested. I personally would find it to be a fun event to be apart of and not a boring lecture that I have to attend. All the more power to Dr. Scudera!
Ava F. 12/1/2015
This is great I am glad that this teacher decided to do this. I would totally be interested in this symposium because if his expression.
Giovanni M. 12/1/2015
Off course! Dr. Scudera has found a new way of teaching students, instead of just making them read a couple of paragraphs on a textbook. When it is time to read silently in the classroom, some students may disagree with or not even have an opinion on such a subject, but they keep their thoughts to themselves.This incredibly valient act by the professor would create a more open classroom environment for each student to voice their opinions and truly have a more meaningful class discussion.
Thomas A 12/1/2015
I wouldn't go
Denise K 12/1/2015
I would be happy to attend... I enjoy diversity in people and love to hear all about them. I agree that dressing in drag could distract from the lesson though. I support everyone's choices, as long as no other living being is being harmed.
Richard M. 12/1/2015
whether or not drag queen is agreed upon or not, disallowing the professor to come to school dressed as a drag queen in a professional manner is discrimination regardless. Who is to say that the professor does not think of himself as a female or who is to say that being gay is wrong. As long as the professor was able to dress appropriately to his lecture and not like he would if he went to a club, then it should be fine. No gay or straight man is condemning straight people for the way that they dress so why should anyone condemn the professor?
Joey P 12/1/2015
what is happening. This is beyond just a sad cry for attention.
Selorm K 12/1/2015
Yes, I would like to attend this symposium for the simply fact that, he's human and my professor for that matter, regardless of personal preferences.
Hope m 12/1/2015
In my personal opinion I commend the professor's bravery but I think it would be a distraction from the lesson being taught and limit who would attend
Meekyoung K 12/1/2015
I would be interested in attending the symposium because it will give me a chance to re-evaluate the value system I have. It will help me to think out of my box, yet be firm about what I believe.
Marcus W 12/1/2015
I feel like everyone can do as they please but I am a Christan me personally I don't agree with it
Tiara T 12/1/2015
i would love to attend because while he is a teacher at a college as a professor it is a certain image you should maintain in the work force you cannot dress how you want either you are gay or not u have to be professional at all times u cannot give people two images of you . and i understand that he does have a life outside of his job he can really somewhat be himself but with the social media and internet things tend to spread out even though they shouldnt . so i understand his worries of people not taking him serious because of him being gay although its not right thats how people will look at him as ( just a gay professor) its not bad for people being whom they are if he is comfortable in his own skin and how he is then people should accept that but society tend to say otherwise so i would love to attend to see him true self and not just as a professor
Jeffrey R 12/1/2015
yes, I would attend the symposium. This would be a rich discussion. People need to be free to be who they are. Our society needs to get rid of stigmas.
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