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Dance, Dress, Desire: Drag Kings, Prison Wear, and the Dressed, Dancing Body


In this dissertation, I look at the costumes of drag kings in contemporary drag king cabaret and at women's prison uniforms in the context of federal incarceration as material sites where dress, desire, and dance come together on formal and informal stages of U.S. statecrafting. I argue that as one of the many elements of "a dance" proper, dress colludes with the body to adorn the larger corpus at stake in a dance: namely, citizenship and the maintenance of the U.S. nation-state. I foreground the centrality of the sartorial in subject-formation and suggest that the U.S. State has a historical and on-going vested interest in how people dress, an investment that shapes and is evidenced in the uses and meanings of costume on formal and informal dance and performance stages. Drawing out a theory of the "dressed, dancing body" and the "sonic rub" of drag king costumes as they touch the performing body, this dissertation in its final repose offers a critical approach to drag kings attentive to embodiment, costume, and the sonic home-base of the drag kinging.

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