Supermodels of the World: A Drag Race Symposium

A special one-day online event exploring the international phenomenon of RuPaul’s Drag Race coming this September.

The interdisciplinary symposium – a collaboration between the University of Salford and SODA (Manchester Metropolitan University) – will look at RuPaul as a pop culture sensation and the rising popularity of drag superstars. Hosted by the University of Salford’s Dr Danny Cookney and SODA’s Dr Kirsty Fairclough, attendees can expect special panel sessions analysing the drag makeover challenge, how RuPaul’s Drag Race tells the story of queer pop culture through the show’s ‘Snatch Game’ and how hashtags and handles has boosted the popularity of the show in the online space, to name a few.

With experts in the field from Knoxville, Chicago and Pasadena in the US plus Croatia and Germany, it is set to be a truly international affair.

Dr Danny Cookney says:

“This grew out of a public discussion that Kirsty hosted at Manchester’s Cultureplex in January which focussed on RuPaul – something that prompted a lively and intelligent debate about the various aspects of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I suggested that there was a lot that couldn’t be unpacked in one evening – I guess drag queens don’t travel light – and this symposium is the result: a series of themed panels available to anyone interested in the kind of research that may be emerging as this particular TV franchise continues to develop and diversify.”

Dr Kirsty Fairclough adds:

“I am delighted to be co-hosting the symposium with the University of Salford’s Dr Danny Cookney. RuPaul’s Drag Race is a fertile site for debate around a range of issues and subject matter which we will be discussing in detail during the event. With a group of international speakers and an audience of scholars and fans, Supermodels of The World is set to be an exciting and lively celebration of a television phenomenon.”

The event will take place from noon until 9.45pm on 25 September 2020. Tickets are free!

Please note that ticket sales will close one day before the show, on the 24th of September.

Warning: Will contain nudity and strong language.



How will the symposium take place?

The Symposium will happen on a platform called Blackboard Collaborate. When you book a ticket, you will be emailed a confirmation email of your order. Ticket sales will close on the 24th of september, On this day, you will recieve an email from the event organisers that will give you a link to Blackboard Collaborate, where the Symposium will be held.



Carolina Are – School of Arts and Social Sciences, City University, London, UK
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Dr Daithí McMahon – Senior Lecturer in Media, University of Derby, UK
Aisling O’Connor – Pop Culture Writer, Playwright and Independent Academic, UK
Hashtags & Handles – RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Evergreen International Audience

Florian Zitzelsberger – Universität Passau, Germany
Anus-Thing Is Possible on the Internet: YouTube as Heterotopic Paratext of Drag Race


Yvonne Festl – Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany
Realness vs. Glitter: Analysing the Drag Makeover Challenge of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Karla Biuković – University of Zadar, Croatia
Emilia Musap – University of Zadar, Croatia
(In)Visibility or Recognition? Transgender Representation in RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-) and Ryan Murphy’s Pose (2018-)

Leung Wing Fai – Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College, London, UK
Being Very Bad is Fierce: Contesting an Authentic Trans Performance Tradition in RuPaul’s Drag Race


Hannah Andrews – Senior Lecturer in Media, Film and Television, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK
Doing Maggie: Localizing the Snatch Game in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

Danny Cookney – University of Salford, UK
Start Your Injuns: ‘Redface’ and RuPaul’s Drag Race

Emily Miller – The College of New Jersey, Ewing, US
Homonationalism and Drag Race’s Queer Culture


Allison Parker – Pasadena City College, Pasadena, US
Iliana Rocha – University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, US
RuPaul’s Female Trouble: Minstrelsy, Misogyny, and the New, Popular World of Drag

Stephane Azarian – Doctoral Researcher, Roehampton University, UK
RuPaul’s Drag Race: The Queer Herstory Classroom?

Caroline Baylis-Green – Independent Scholar and Visiting Lecturer, University of Sussex, UK
Conflicts Between Popular Culture and Subcultural Aspects in RuPaul’s Drag Race


Sammy Holden – The University of Manchester, UK
You Own Everything?: Production Contexts of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Kaila Tova Prins – Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, US
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Matthew Beetar – Research Associate, University of Sussex, UK
Gaspard Pelurson – School of Cultural Studies and Humanities, Leeds Beckett University, UK
“Hello Uglies!”: Grotesque, Failure and Queer Politics in Dragula and RuPaul’s Drag Race


New Adelphi University Rd
Salford M5 4BR