Performing Queer Selves: Embodied Subjectivity and Affect in Queer Performance Spaces Duckie, Bird Club and Wotever World

Chalklin, Victoria. 2012. Performing Queer Selves: Embodied Subjectivity and Affect in Queer Performance Spaces Duckie, Bird Club and Wotever World. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores the affective, relational, and intercorporeal intensities circulating in three of London’s queer performance club spaces. Duckie, Bird Club and Wotever have staged queer cabaret, burlesque and live-art influenced performance work in bar and nightclub settings for many years, and yet have received little academic attention. Located at the intersection of cultural studies, performance studies, and body theory, this thesis serves not only to archive this rich and yet under-explored scene of creative endeavour, but also to bring into dialogue concerns and approaches from these divergent disciplines that appear to coincide within these settings. It asks two complimentary overarching questions:

a) What can the debates around subjectivity, affect and embodiment emerging from body theory bring to our interpretation and understanding of performance practice and spectatorship?

b) What can a consideration of performance bring to the ongoing interest across the humanities in the workings of affect and embodied experiences that challenge the rational, bounded, autonomous subject?

Through autoethnographic research, comprising performance analysis, one-to-one and group interviews with performers and regulars of the three clubs and extensive participation in both the social and performance aspects of this ‘scene’, I argue that much is to be gained from this under-explored crossover. Engaging theory on bodily integrity, relationality, trauma, fantasy and desire and the public sphere I investigate the workings of affect within these domains, and the complex intersections between affect and identity politics, performativity, subjectification and world-making. I trace the modes of subjectivity and belonging that appear to be enabled within these milieux, and address why it is that these debates become pertinent here. Shifting our attention to the affective register of what is occurring within queer performance, I argue, enables a consideration of experiences, subjectivities and performances that might otherwise seem paradoxical, impossible or illegible.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


Queer performance, subjectivity, body theory, affect embodiment, cabaret, femme

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2013 12:49

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 10:29


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