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.
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