CSC Special Colloquium Event: Student Presentations (SOC)

Thursday, October 18, 2018 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM 
Johnson Center, Assembly Room D

As part of our Fall 2018 Colloquium Series, we are pleased to invite you to the special colloquium event of this week, organized by Cultural Studies Student Organizing Committee (SOC). This week CS students will present their papers and share their research with the GMU community. Please join us for this special event and don't miss the chance to learn more about CS students' research projects. 

Please see the abstracts below.

Ray LeBlanc

Ten Dollar Kiss: Agency and Practice in Drag Queening

Previous research on drag queens and their performance has relied on traditional ethnography with an emphasis on observations from an audience’s perspective. This paper approaches drag performance from a different perspective by focusing on the “backstage” practices of drag and recounting my first public performance. When an audience member demands to pay me for a kiss, my experience drag queening in a small rural gay bar becomes an opportunity to reflexively consider agency and practice as it is actively embodied before an audience. By considering drag queening as a form of sexualized and gendered labor within the gay nightlife industry rather than simply subversive entertainment, I complicate the assumed agency of performers and traditional views of sexual harassment through my own narrative of the stage.

Richard Todd Stafford

What is “Social” in the Social Cost of Carbon? Or, Does the Rising Sea Level Lift All Ships?

The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SC-CO2) in cost-benefit analysis and environmental impact assessment is to put a price on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted or avoided. Since 2008, this seemingly boring figure has become a privileged node in the knowledge infrastructure coordinating scientific evidence and political actions seeking to manage climate emissions. In this paper, I argue that by utilizing SC-CO2, regulatory institutions reify specific ways of conceiving the spatiality and temporality of “the social.” In doing so, they temporarily displace from the sphere of public reasoning, engagement, and understanding key debates about the roles of the nation and community in relation to the global impacts of carbon emissions, the ambit of intergenerational political obligations, and the uneven distribution of economic growth in a changing climate.

Shauna Rigaud

“Kick in She Back Door”: Soca, Pleasure, and Problems

In Entertainment and Utopia, Richard Dyer discusses the pleasure that is derived through the consumption of entertainment. Analyzing musicals, Dyer finds that entertainment holds particular value in creating what he sees as utopian sensibilities. In this mediated world of the media, entertainment represents a way for its audience to escape. These utopian solutions can also be found in the cultural work of soca music [a contraction of “soul calypso”; a West Indian pop genre], but the utopian is also challenged by the elements that make soca, soca. In this paper, I look at the history of the genre and analyze its work as entertainment that Dyer posits. I discuss how soca music uses texture, tempo and storytelling to engage and draw in its audience for pleasure and the ways that the pleasure is interrupted by sexual violence and harassment that is present in some of its lyrics.

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