Resurrecting Camp: Rethinking the Queer Sensibility

Authors


Corresponding author: John M. Wolf; e-mail: jmwolf03@syr.edu

Abstract

Camp is a queer sense-making practice that subverts dominant gender norms and heteronormative practices and institutions. Scholars have posited that camp is an artifact of oppression-era queer history and that an age of relative queer conspicuousness neither allows for nor necessitates its existence, thereby resulting in its death. This study challenges that supposition by offering a camp reading of Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) from NBC's Will & Grace (1998–2006). Though the show has been criticized for its relatively safe queer representations, this study demonstrates the ways in which it relied on camp humor to deconstruct normative gender and sexuality practices. Future research should use empirical measures to address the role that camp plays in the lives of contemporary queer spectators.

Ancillary