Queer Utopian Performance at Texas A&M University
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Through a combination of personal interviews and participant-observation in three field sites ? the Tim Miller workshop and performance of October 2010 and the student organizations Cepheid Variable and the GLBT Aggies ? I argue that manifestations of utopian desire and performance circulate within and among marginalized groups on the Texas A&M University campus, undermining the heteronormative and monolithic utopia the university attempts to present. I participated in each night of rehearsal during the Tim Miller workshop, as well as the creation and performance of my own solo autobiographical monologue as a part of the ensemble. My participant-observation in Cepheid Variable and the GLBT Aggies was concurrent, consisting of attendance at both weekly organizational meetings and outside events sponsored by the organizations over two years. I argue that the Tim Miller workshop and performance is best understood by examining the intersection of queer intimacy, utopia, and performance. I argue that processes of connection, sharing, and mutual transformation allowed it to function as an example of queer utopian performance qua performance at Texas A&M. I explore the links between the ?nerd,? ?queer,? and ?family? identities of Cepheid Variable, arguing that the intersection of these identity-markers and the performance practices which reinforce them enable Cepheid Variable to create a utopian space on the Texas A&M campus for those students who do not fit traditional notions of Aggie identity. I explore two Cepheid performance practices: noise-making and storytelling, arguing that they construct, support, and interweave each element of Cepheid identity, allowing the organization to perpetuate and reaffirm its utopian and counterpublic statuses at Texas A&M. I explore what the GLBT Aggies claims to provide in theory, juxtaposed with what it actually accomplishes in practice. I examine a moment of crisis the LGBTQ community at Texas A&M faced in spring 2011. I argue that the utopia the GLBTA promises remains unfulfilled because the marginalization of the LGBTQ community at large leaves diversity within that community unaddressed. I conclude that utopian communities persist if able to adapt, and that the strength of the intimacy built into queer utopias in particular sustains them through time.
Texas A&M University
Sayre, Dana (2012). Queer Utopian Performance at Texas A&M University. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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