Cross-Dressing for Empire: Race and Whiteness in Bohemian Grove Performances

Lecture Description

This lecture traces the history of cross-gender performance at the Bohemian Grove, the annual summer encampment of San Francisco’s elite, all-male Bohemian Club, from the 1870s to the 1920s. It suggests that the club performances were closely linked to how the men enacting and witnessing them imagined their roles in the US Pacific Empire, inculcating in them, on the one hand, a sense of comic distance from particular colonized others, while on the other hand producing a sense of white, heteronormative masculinity that entitled them to the lands they occupied.

CATEGORIES

Gender, Masculinity, Femininity Visual and Performing Arts

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