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Making Camp, Making Camp, 0817316078, 0-8173-1607-8, 978-0-8173-1607-5, 9780817316075, , , Making Camp, 0817380116, 0-8173-8011-6, 978-0-8173-8011-3, 9780817380113, , , Making Camp, 0817356525, 0-8173-5652-5, 978-0-8173-5652-1, 9780817356521,

Making Camp
Rhetorics of Transgression in U.S. Popular Culture
Helene A. Shugart and Catherine Egley Waggoner

Trade Cloth
2008. 200 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2009. 200 pp.
Price:  $29.95 d
Quality Paper
2009. 200 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s

Making Camp examines the rhetoric and conventions of “camp” in contemporary popular culture and the ways it both subverts and is co-opted by mainstream ideology and discourse, especially as it pertains to issues of gender and sexuality.
Camp has long been aligned with gay male culture and performance. Helene Shugart and Catherine Waggoner contend that camp in the popular media—whether visual, dramatic, or musical—is equally pervasive. While aesthetic and performative in nature, the authors argue that camp—female camp in particular—is also highly political and that conventions of femininity and female sexuality are negotiated, if not always resisted, in female camp performances. 
The authors draw on a wide range of references and figures representative of camp, both historical and contemporary, in presenting the evolution of female camp and its negotiation of gender, political, and identity issues. Antecedents such as Joan Crawford, Wonder Woman, Marilyn Monroe, and Pam Grier are discussed as archetypes for contemporary popular culture figures—Macy Gray, Gwen Stefani, and the characters of Xena from Xena: Warrior Princess and Karen Walker from Will & Grace.
Shugart and Waggoner find that these and other female camp performances are liminal, occupying a space between conformity and resistance. The result is a study that demonstrates the prevalence of camp as a historical and evolving phenomenon in popular culture, its role as a site for the rupture of conventional notions of gender and sexuality, and how camp is configured in mainstream culture and in ways that resist its being reduced to merely a style.

Helene A. Shugart is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Catherine Egley Waggoner is an Associate Professor of Communication at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

"Published in the 'Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique' series, this is the first book-length collaboration of these two communication scholars, both of whom have done significant work in communication and gender studies. Shugart (Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City) and Waggoner (Wittenberg Univ.) devote the first chapters to history and definition, discussing key terms and concepts to be explored. In the remaining four chapters they argue that Xena and Karen Walker (characters from popular television shows) and Macy Gray and Gwen Stefani (well-known pop singers) resist mainstream notions of femininity by employing camp performance strategies typically used by homosexual males. This groundbreaking thesis on camp will be of most interest to gender studies scholars. Since the authors argue that popular media need not always reinforce mainstream culture, scholars interested in the rhetoric of popular media may also find the topic worthy of consideration. Though field-specific jargon may confuse less experienced readers, introductory definitions, parallel chapter structure, and plentiful illustrations should help most readers understand the main arguments. Those well grounded in the field will note occasional overgeneralization and unnecessary repetition within chapters. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."

“Shugart and Waggoner have identified a significant arena of rhetorical and cultural critique.”
—Phaedra Pezzullo, author of Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel, and Environmental Justice Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique series logotype

2009 Best Book Award, sponsored by the Critical Cultural Studies Division at the National Communication Association
2009 Bonnie Ritter Book Award, sponsored by the Feminist and Women Studies Division at the National Communication Association

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