Texas Christian University students will create own drag personas, perform in 'Queer Art of Drag' course
The course will be taught by Dr. Nino Testa, also known by his drag persona, 'Maria von Clapp.'
'Some of the performances we will read about or watch may actually perpetuate or circulate racist/sexist jokes, ideas, and norms.'
Texas Christian University is offering a course for the 2023-2024 school year that instructs students to develop their own drag personas.
“The Queer Art of Drag“ will be taught by Dr. Nino Testa, also known by his drag persona, “Maria von Clapp.”
According to the course syllabus obtained by Campus Reform, the course requires students to create a drag persona, which is done through a “drag vision board,” a “bibliography,” a “worksheet,” an “in-class lip-sync performance,” a “storyboard,” and a final performance.
The drag “vision board” has two components: “a series of brainstorming questions to help [students] to begin to do the critical self reflection necessary to develop a drag persona” and a collage of images/ideas/quotes to help [students] visualize [their] inspirations.”
To complete a “drag bibliography,” students are required to “[find] 8-10 articles about the people, performers, aesthetics, movements, politics, ideas, or communities that inspire [their] persona.”
The “worksheet” requires students to name and describe their drag persona and “strike a pose,” and must contain a “drag greeting” and a “lip sync portfolio.”
Students must also complete an in-class lip sync performance lasting approximately one minute. Students are welcome, but not required, to wear makeup, and are expected to focus on “choreography, movement, gestures, poses, style, facial expressions, and accuracy of the sync.”
For their “storyboard,” students must plan their performance and answer questions such as “What will the themes of the performance be? How will you create tension/narrative? What elements of style and genre will be important to your performance? What materials will you need to execute your performance?”
Students’ final performance consists of a paper and presentation in the voice of their drag persona, as well as a video performance to be showcased at “TCU’s annual Night of Drag.” Possible formats for the video performance include a “traditional lip sync,” “vocal performance,” “dance performance,” “drag story or children’s program,” and a “sketch or comedy routine.”
In order to receive an A or A- in the course, students must “participate in a live group number on the night of the Spectrum Drag Show,” choreographed by “Drag Aunty De’ja DuBois.”
The course contains a “content warning” that “readings will refer to scenes of anti-queerness, racism, misogyny, and other forms of violence.”
“Some of the performances we will read about or watch may actually perpetuate or circulate racist/sexist jokes, ideas, and norms,” the warning continues. “Feel free to walk out of class as needed without notifying [Testa] or asking permission.”
Campus Reform has reached out to all individuals and entities named for comment and will update accordingly.