Dr. Katrin Horn (Universität Würzburg) "Queer Performance in Transnational Spaces: Lady Gaga's Monster Ball"

Thursday, 28.01.2016, 12:15-13:45 p.m., U2/01.36

Pop music and pop stars have long taken center stage in American studies. Yet while cultural studies often concerns itself primarily with pop's media(ted) images, this talk will engage with the live performance as a crucial aspect of contemporary pop stardom and fandom. Inspired by research on the connection between performance and queerness by scholars such as José Esteban Muñoz, the talk will discuss the pop concert as a privileged space for the embodiment of queer utopia.

Lady Gaga's second world tour, The Monster Ball, lends itself particularly well to such a discussion, due to its staging of a stylized 'misfit rebellion' of queer communality. Set in the urban space of New York, The Monster Ball's performance of pop and queerness also raises questions about the relation between these ideas and 'Americaness.' As a markedly American cultural commodity that is traded internationally and enacted site-specifically, the tour emerges as a privileged space for engaging with queer performance in the context of transnational American Studies.

Katrin Horn is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Würzburg. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Erlangen in 2015 with a dissertation entitled Camp / Pop. Interventions into Popcultural Discourse of Gender and Sexuality. Katrin Horn has published several articles on TV series and Lady Gaga as a cultural phenomenon and is co-editor of Stimme, Kultur, Identität.Vokaler Ausdruck in der populären Musik der USA, 1900-1960 (transcript, 2015). Her talk draws on a larger research project pursued as a member of the DFG research network "Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies."