Laura Westengard

Sep 10, 2020

Gothic Queer Culture

Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma

University of Nebraska Press 2019

purchase at In Gothic Queer Culture: Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma (University of Nebraska Press), Laura Westengard examines the intersection of queerness and the gothic. Westengard’s scope is broad enough to encompass Lady Gaga’s meat dress, lesbian pulp fiction, Dracula, queer literature, and sadomasochistic performance art. What brings these diverse cultural objects together is the way they re-appropriate tropes of the gothic that have been used to marginalize queer and gender-variant people throughout history. If mainstream culture depicts queer people as predatory, monstrous, and threatening, the artists analyzed in Gothic Queer Culture find beauty and meaning in gothic tropes: in the crypt-like undergrounds of lesbian bars, the vampiric performance art of Ron Athey, and in the Frankensteinian practice of juxtaposing conflicting genres in the same text. The gothic then becomes a way to process trauma and rewrite the often-conservative genre of the gothic as something proudly queer, unsettled, and unsettling. Laura Westengard is an associate professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, City University of New York.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is, and he can be reached at

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