Kalle Westerling is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance and a Futures Initiative Graduate Fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and Director of HASTAC Scholars, a vibrant student network within The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). Currently, he is completing his dissertation on the history and aesthetics of male-identified bodies in 20th-century burlesque and 21st-century boylesque, “The Roots and Routes of Boylesque: Queering Male Striptease and Burlesque in New York City from 1930s Golden Age Burlesque to the New York Boylesque Festival in the 2010s.”
His monograph, La Dolce Vita (Normal 2006) treats the history of the Swedish drag company After Dark. He regularly delivers scholarly papers at the annual conferences for the American Society for Theatre Researchers (ASTR) and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). His performance-related theatre work has included an English translation and dramaturgy of August Strindberg’s The Pelican for the Voyage Theatre Company’s 2016 production in New York City.
Kalle has taught courses at New York University, Villanova University, Baruch College, Hunter College, and Stockholm University, and has guest lectured at Yale University, The New School, Carleton University, and Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. He regularly presents on the topics of queer and LGBT studies, the digital humanities, the public humanities, and on how to leverage digital technology for effective pedagogy.
As part of his service to the academic profession, Kalle frequently blogs and employs social media to connect others and build communities. He has organized many conferences, including contributions to HASTAC’s annual international conferences 2015–2017, and the After Marriage Conference in New York City. Kalle has also held board appointments with CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies (Chair of Programming), the open-source publishing platform OpenCUNY, and the CUNY Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association.
The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, NY 10016 (Expected June 2019)
Graduate Certificate, Women’s & Gender Studies (completed 2013).
|Ph.D.||Performance and Theatre Studies
Stockholm University, SE-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden (Expected June 2019)
|M.A.||Performance and Theatre Studies
Stockholm University, SE-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden (2006)
The History of American Burlesque, undergraduate class in the Drama Department, New York University, New York City, Summer 2017. An elective upper-level class on the history of the genre of American burlesque, and its contemporary forms: neo-burlesque, boylesque, nerdlesque, etc.
Dramatic Vision and Form, graduate class in the M.A. program in Theatre, Villanova University, Philadelphia, PA, Spring 2017. The seminar covered the second half of dramatic literature as well as the effect of theory and form on the vision of playwrights and performance artists.
The Age of Promiscuity: Gay Male Sex Before AIDS, public seminar, City University of New York, NY, Spring 2017. The seminar explored the gay male sexual subculture that existed in NYC before the AIDS epidemic and examined the impact of HIV/AIDS on gay male sexuality by contrasting the 1970s with the gay male subculture of today. We examined the films, art, and architectural spaces that played an important role in the development of this sexual subculture.
The History of American Burlesque, undergraduate class in the Drama Department, New York University, New York City, Summer 2016. (Co-taught with Dr. Lynn Sally). Responsible for one class per week in an elective 600-level class on the history of the genre of American burlesque, and its contemporary forms: neo-burlesque, boylesque, nerdlesque, etc.
Speech Communication, undergraduate class in Public Speaking, Department of Communication Studies, Baruch College, New York City, 2015–2016. Created a collaborative class from the ground up for teaching public speaking to students from different majors but primarily Business and Accounting.
Introduction to Theatre, undergraduate class in Theatre, Theatre Department, Hunter College, New York City, 2012–2014. (Teaching Assistant for Profs. Claudia Orenstein, Dongshin Chang, Deepsikha Chatterjea, Louisa Thompson Pregerson). Leading discussion sections for introductory lecture class on the art of theatre for students from different majors.
Cultural Studies and Gender Studies, undergraduate class in Gender Studies, Center for Gender Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2006–2008. (Co-taught one section per semester with Ph.D. Dirk Gindt). Provided Gender Studies majors with a Cultural Studies perspective on gender and sexuality, as well as performativity in a wider context.
Teateraktivism — Genus, feminism och queer (Theatre Activism — Gender, Feminism, and Queer), undergraduate class in Performance Studies, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2009. (Co-taught with Ph.D. Student Mikael Strömberg).
“A History of Neoburlesque and Boylesque,” Yale University, New Haven, 2016. (Prof. Jessica Berson) A guest lecture in the mixed class of undergraduates and graduate students, “Dancing Desires: Gender and Sexuality in Embodied Performance,” introducing the students to my dissertation topic and situated it within the history of neoburlesque performance and the class theme of representations of gender and sexuality in embodied performance.
“An Introduction to Boylesque,” The New School, New York City, 2015. (Prof. Joseph Cermatori) A guest lecture in the seminar Queer Theater and Performance, introducing the students to some contemporary boylesque artists accompanied by some critical readings.
“An Introduction to Comedy,” Hunter College, New York City, 2014. (Prof. Louisa Thompson Pregerson) A guest lecture in Introduction to Theatre, introducing the students to the genre of comedy – high and low.
“An Introduction to Queerness in Burlesque,” City College, New York City, 2014. (Prof. Jasmina Sinanovic) A guest lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies on queer artists performing in burlesque throughout history.
“Angels in America Contextualized: LGBTQ Theatre in the U.S.,” Hunter College, New York City, 2013. (Prof. Deepsikha Chatterjea) A guest lecture in Introduction to Theatre, contextualizing Angels in America in a longer trajectory of LGBTQ theatre and performance in the United States.
“Brecht and Theatre Audiences,” Hunter College, New York City, 2013. (Prof. Deepsikha Chatterjea) A guest lecture together with Jordan Cohen in Introduction to Theatre, contextualizing Bertolt Brecht’s aesthetics and his play Good Person of Schezwan in relation to his politics and perspective on the audiences, incorporating a historical trajectory of perspectives on audiences in the theatre generally.
“Angels in America Contextualized: LGBTQ Theatre in the U.S.,” Hunter College, New York City, 2013. (Adjunct Professor Stefanie A. Jones) A guest lecture in World Theatre III, contextualizing Angels in America in a longer trajectory of LGBTQ theatre and performance in the United States.
“Angels in America Contextualized: LGBTQ Theatre in the U.S.,” Hunter College, New York City, 2012 and 2013. (Prof. Claudia Orenstein and Prof. Dongshin Chang) Guest lectures together with Benjamin Gillespie in Introduction to Theatre, contextualizing Angels in America in a longer trajectory of LGBTQ theatre and performance in the United States.
“Introduction to the Politics of Drag Performance,” Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 2011. (Prof. Christine Ekholst) A short lecture via Skype for students in Introduction class to Gender and Sexuality, presenting the politics of potentiality in drag show.
“Queer Activism,” In Teateraktivism, an undergraduate class in Performance Studies, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden, 2008 (Prof. Willmar Sauter). Contextualized queer activism in the wider scope of the class focusing on how theatre (potentially) functions as activism.
“Kroppen som konstverk” (“The Body as Artwork”). Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts and Stockholm University of Dance and Circus, Sweden, 2007. (Dir. Sara Giese, Prof. Karin Helander, and Prof. Lena Hammergren) Lecture-seminar for dancers, mime artists and actors about body modifications and performativity.
Lightning Talks↑ Back to Top
“The Roots and Routes of Boylesque.” “Home/Not Home,” American Studies Association, Denver, CO, 2016. Part of a session on “Digital Shorts: Centering Digital Humanities Projects in American Studies,” organized by the American Studies Association’s Digital Caucus.
“The Roots and Routes of Boylesque.” CUNY DHI: Building a Digital Humanities Community, CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative, New York City, 2015.
“The Roots and Routes of Boylesque.” Media Res #2, NYCDH, New York City, 2015.
Professional Presentations and Workshops↑ Back to Top
“Possibilities and Realities of Digital Humanities Across Disciplines: What can other disciplines learn from DH and what can DH learn from other disciplines?,” (Roundtable) “The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities,” HASTAC 2017 Conference, Orlando, FL, November 2017.
“Case Studies and Business Plan Development Workshop on Strategies for Creating a Program for Paid Student Internships/Assistantships in the Digital Humanities,” (Workshop) “The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities,” HASTAC 2017 Conference, Orlando, FL, November 2017.
“Digital Humanities Mentoring,” Home/Not Home, American Studies Association (ASA), Denver, CO, 2016. Invited to provide mentorship on digital humanities projects for members of the Digital Humanities Caucus in the ASA.
“Academic Digital Presence.” The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, 2016. Invited by the Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association’s Professionalization Committee.
“Digital Pedagogy.” The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, 2015. Invited by the Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association’s Professionalization Committee.
“Building a Student-Centered (Digital) Learning Community.” CUNY DHI: Building a Digital Humanities Community, CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative, New York City, 2015.
“Mapping the Futures of Higher Education: Community, Equity and Innovation,” (Roundtable) CUNY IT Conference, New York City, NY, 2015.
“Transforming the Dissertation: Models, Questions, and Next Steps,” (roundtable) “Art and Science of Digital Humanities,” HASTAC 2015 Conference, Lansing, MI, 2015.
“Artists and activists – Projects in progress.” School of Journalism, Columbia University, New York City, 2014. Invited by the organizers of the Queer Internet Studies symposium to speak on the topic of the digital community archiving project of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies. Recap blog post is available here.
“After Dark—Underhållning och politik” (“After Dark—Entertainment and Politics”). Rotary, Stockholm, Sweden, 2010. Invited by board member Britt-Marie Bystedt.
“Performativitet—Motstånd och normer i dragshow och Skådespelerskan” (“Performativity—Resistance and Norms in Drag Show and The Actress”). Stockholm City Theatre, Sweden, 2008 (Dir. Sara Giese) Dramaturgical lecture-discussion with the creative team for the production of Anne Charlotte Leffler’s play The Actress.
“Älskade Zarah? Zarah Leander i After Darks shower” (“Beloved Zarah? Zarah Leander in After Dark’s shows”). Nation-wide tour with the Swedish National Theatre to Swedish towns, 2007. (Christer Uhre, producer) Related a major popular icon from the early 20th century in a shame-focused Cultural Studies framework.
Scholarly Papers Delivered↑ Back to Top
“The Queer, Resistant, Historical Bodies of Taylor Mac’s A 24 Decade History of Popular Music,” (Roundtable), “Extra/Ordinary Bodies: Interrogating the Performance and Aesthetics of ’Difference’,” ASTR Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2017. A blog post describing the roundtable is available here.
“Theorizing and Historicizing (the Absence of) Male-Identified Bodies in Burlesque Archives,” Women in Theatre Working Group Pre-Conference, Spectacle: Balancing Education, Theory, and Practice, ATHE Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2017.
“Kenny Kerr’s ’Boylesque’: Male Femininity as Spectacle,” Spectacle: Balancing Education, Theory, and Practice, ATHE Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2017.
“What have I become, my sweetest friend?,” Spectacle: Balancing Education, Theory, and Practice, ATHE Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2017.
“Tripping the Light Transtastic: Hidden Histories of Trans Diva Performance,” (Curated Panel) Trans-, ASTR Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, 2016.
“An Archive and Repertoire of Digital Humanities and Media Projects in the Performing Arts,” (Roundtable) HASTAC Annual Conference, Tempe, AZ, 2016.
“A Digital (N)Ethnographic Journey through the Roots and Routes of Boylesque,” Debating the Stakes in Theatre and Performance Scholarship, ASTR Annual Conference, Portland, OR, 2015.
“A Hairy Chest In a Beaded Dress: Drag Striptease in Mainstream Burlesque in 1920’s and 1930’s Culture,” Marry the Night: Nightlife, Performance + Queer World Making, LGBTQ Focus Group Pre-Conference, ATHE Annual Conference, Washington D.C., 2012.
“What have I become, my sweetest friend?” Performance Remains, Global Presence: Memory, Legacy, and Imagined Futures, ATHE Annual Conference, Chicago, 2011.
“Material Girls: The Negotiation of Shame in the Material Culture of Contemporary Drag Queens,” The Urban Catwalk: Fashion and Street Culture, Yale University, New Haven, April 2011.
“I Know We’re Not in Kansas: The Meaning of Space as a Radical Democratic Drag Intervention for Cultural Citizenship,” Crossroads Conference, Association for Cultural Studies Annual Conference, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, 2010.
“Unintentional Activism or Mere Entertainment? Contemporary Drag Performance in New York,” Misperformance: Misfiring, Misfitting, Misreading, PSi Annual Conference, Zagreb, Croatia, 2009.
“The Queer Diva: Zarah Leander and the Politics of Shame,” Keynote together with Prof. Tiina Rosenberg, Economies of Emotion: Rethinking Affect in Cinema and Media Studies, Department of Film Studies, Stockholm University, October 6, 2007.
“Den ofarliga populärkulturen? After Dark, dragshow och dess ‘breda publik’,” (The Innocuous Popular Culture? After Dark, Drag Show and It’s ‘Large’ Audience) RE: ACT UP—Queerforskningens återväxt, Department of Gender Studies, Lund University, Sweden, November, 2006.
Publications↑ Back to Top
La Dolce Vita: Trettio år med drag (La Dolce Vita: Thirty Years in Drag). Stockholm: Normal, 2006.
David Román, Kalle Westerling, Dan Venning, et. al., “Subjective Histories of Taylor Mac’s ‘Radical Faerie Realness Ritual’ History” (Review of Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music), “Theatre and the Museum/Cultures of Display,” Special Issue, Theatre Journal 69, no. 3 (September 2017): 403–415, doi:10.1353/tj.2017.0048
“After Sex?” (review of After Sex?: On Writing since Queer Theory, eds. Janet Halley and Andrew Parker), lambda nordica, no. 3 (2012), 119–122.
Book Chapters and Journal Articles
“Burleskhistoria,” (“Burlesque History”) Burleska bastarder: Sagan om Hootchy Kootchy Club och den udda familjen vid regnbågens ände, (Burlesque Bastards: The Tale About Hootchy Kootchy Club and the Queer Family at the End of the Rainbow) ed. Jesper Ims Johansson, Stockholm: Voltaire Publishing, 2011.
“Drugornas underbara värld,” (“The Wonderful World of Drag Queens”) Kroppsspråk och tankesprång, Stockholm: STUTS, 2009.
“Annorlundahetens potential: Dragshow och den politiska estetiken i att framträda annorlunda,” (“The Potential of Difference: Drag Show and the Political Aesthetics of Appearing Different”) lambda nordica 13, no. 1-2 (2008), 30–49.
“Queen Willmar,” Willmar in the World: Young Scholars Exploring the Theatrical Event, Stockholm: STUTS, 2007.
Notable Blog Posts
“Recap: A Tool Kit for Doctoral Student Career Planning.” HASTAC (Blog), January 4, 2018. Linked to by The Professor Is In, and used in course syllabi.
“Queer Pedagogies and Pedagogy for LGBTQ Instructors and Allies.” The Futures Initiative (Blog), September 15, 2017.
“Crying in Front of My Class for the First Time Ever.” HASTAC (Blog), November 9, 2016.
“DH Toolbox.” HASTAC (Blog), May 27, 2015.
Artistic Projects↑ Back to Top
Trade2Trade. Co-host (with NYC drag queen Monét X Change) and researcher. Dir. David Serrano and Sherry Vine, New York City, 2016–. YouTube show featuring go-go boys, male burlesque performers, and porn stars who have transitioned into other careers.
The Pelican. Translator and Dramaturg. Dir. Charles C. Bales and Wayne Maugans, Voyage Theatre Company, New York City, May 2016.
Drag as Art. Project Manager. Stockholm, 2014–2016. A project aimed at
exploring, producing, and presenting performing arts using drag as an artistic expression, based in Stockholm and New York. Collaboration with Project Manager Karin Victorin. Performances:
- June 17, 2016: Icons! Icons! Icons! with almost 20 artists at Scalateatern, Stockholm
- June 30, 2015: Sherry Vine and Admira Thunderpussy in Concert at Södra Teatern, Stockholm
- July 27, 2014: Sherry Vine in Concert at Torget, Stockholm
- June 27, 2014: Prince Poppycock in Concert at Marabouparken, Stockholm
- June 13, 2014: Queens & Klowns: The Grand Opening Gender Bender Gala at Södra Teatern, Stockholm
Exhibit Q: Queer Bodies. Performer. Performance Workshop with Tim Miller, The New Museum, New York City, June 2013. Week-long workshop leading up to one public performance of autobiographical material.
KUNQ. Performer and Assistant Director, Stockholm, Sweden, 2001–2005. KUNQ was Sweden’s first youth queer performance art collective, and during my tenure with them, we produced three full-length autobiographical productions.
Fellowships and Awards↑ Back to Top
Dissertation Year Award from The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, to assist me in writing my dissertation, 2018–19.
Connect New York Fellowship from The Early Research Initiative/Digital Initiatives, The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, 2018.
Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship ($90,450, in tuition and living expenses) from The Graduate Center, CUNY, to write a dissertation in Theatre Studies, New York City, 2011–2014.
Thord-Gray Memorial Fund ($20,000) from the American-Scandinavian Foundation to conduct research for 12 months in New York City, 2010.
Cultural Studies Grant ($17,100) from The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education to conduct research for 8 months in New York City, 2009.
Professional Service↑ Back to Top
Director, HASTAC Scholars, New York City, NY, 2014–.
- Lead the international network of graduate and undergraduate students in the HASTAC Scholars network.
- Helped to recruit new HASTAC Scholars, especially from members of HASTAC’s leadership, as well as institutions that have been involved in past years.
- Communicated regularly with HASTAC Scholars through various communication channels.
- Helped Scholars to cultivate project ideas from inception to fruition.
- Developed ways that Scholars can connect more deeply with the Futures Initiative’s work and vice versa.
- Shared announcements with the Scholars community and encourage Scholars to do the same.
- Updated the HASTAC website and social media with new Scholars content as appropriate.
- Created, maintained, and archived documentation related to processes and procedures, including Scholars Handbook.
- Developed new modes of connecting with and tracking outcomes for alumni.
Public Projects Specialist and Graphic Designer, The Futures Initiative, New York City, NY, 2014–.
- Created a visual identity for the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY with guidelines for use of logos, fonts, and color palette.
- Created promotional and organizational materials in a variety of formats.
- Created templates for commonly used materials in order to ensure visual appeal and consistency across digital and analog platforms and media.
- Created visualizations of the organization and for informational materials.
- Edited and published videos of events.
- Served as liaison to university communications department to share important materials and announcements.
- Served as liaison to other fellows, offering guidance on representing work in visual media.
Program Committee Member, Arousal: Theatre, Performance, Embodiment, ASTR 2018 Conference, San Diego, CA.
Social Media Task Force, Extra/Ordinary Bodies: Interrogating the Performance and Aesthetics of “Difference”, ASTR 2017 Conference, Atlanta, GA.
Peer Reviewer, Partake Journal, Boulder, CO, 2016–.
Social Media Task Force, Trans-, ASTR 2016 Conference, Minneapolis, MN, 2016.
Organizing Committee Member, After Marriage Conference, New York City, NY, 2016.
- Participated in the planning and execution of the conference.
- Created and maintained the website.
- Designed flyers and programs.
Peer Reviewer, Tidskrift för genusvetenskap, Karlstad, Sweden, 2016.
Organizing Committee Member, paper proposals for “Impact: Variation, Innovation, Action“, HASTAC 2016 Conference, Tempe, AZ, 2016.
- Participated in the planning and execution of the conference.
- Led the organization of the HASTAC Scholars Unconference.
- Peer-reviewed submitted papers.
Organizing Committee Member, “Art and Science of Digital Humanities“, HASTAC 2015 Conference, Lansing, MI, May 2015.
- Participated in the planning and execution of the conference.
- Led the organization of the HASTAC Scholars Unconference.
Social Media Director, CLAGS (Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies), The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, 2012–2014.
Editor and Designer, STUTS, 2008–2013.
- Designed cover art and content in several of the organization’s publications.
- Edited print content for marketing.
- Co-translated and co-edited An Introduction to Contemporary Circus.
Assistant Editor, Western European Stages, Martin E. Segal Center, New York City, 2011.
- Layout and ensuring that the editorial style of the journal was maintained.
- Assisting the class “Theatre in the 1960s.”
Peer Reviewer, The Foundation for the Culture of the Future, 2008–2010.
- Reviewed and recommended grant applications to Steering Committee, with a specific focus on the applications’ approaches to gender inequality.
Editor and Designer, lambda nordica, 2007–2008.
- Initiated and engaged in the revision of the journal into a peer-reviewed, queer-inclusive, modern source for scholars in the Humanities.
- Designed cover art and content.
Research Assistant, Prof. Tiina Rosenberg, 2006–2007.
- Archival research for Rosenberg’s project “Vill ni se en skamstjärna, se på Zarah Leander,” (“Do You Want To See a Star of Shame, Look at Zarah Leander”), which resulted in Bögarnas Zarah.
- Created the lecture series “Älskade Zarah? Zarah Leander i After Darks shower” (mentioned above).
Intern, Department of Marketing, Stockholm City Theatre, 2005.
- Created digital content according to the visual style guide of the theatre.
- Assisted the official press contact
- Overall responsibility for the marketing of “Blå timmen,” a conversation series with contemporary playwrights.
Elected Positions (Boards, Committees, etc.)↑ Back to Top
Officer of Digital Initiatives, Board of Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association, New York City, NY, 2016–2017.
Board Member, Executive Board for OpenCUNY, New York City, NY, 2015–2017.
Chair of Programming Committee, Executive Board for CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies, New York City, NY, 2014–2017.
Treasurer, the LGBTQ Focus Group, ATHE – Association for Theatre in Higher Education, 2013–2016.
Treasurer, STUTS, 2008–2015.
Treasurer, DTSA (Doctoral Theatre Students’ Association), The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, 2012-2013.
Secretary, the LGBTQ Focus Group, ATHE – Association for Theatre in Higher Education, 2011-2013.
Board Member, Stockholm Chapter, National Theatre of Sweden, 2007–2008.
Treasurer, Board of Directors, lambda nordica, 2007–2010.
Board Member, Theatre and Dance Studies Student Society, Stockholm University, 2003–2005.
Technological Skills↑ Back to Top
Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Lightroom; Apple Aperture and iWork suite; Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Strong knowledge of MySQL, PHP, HTML 5, CSS, RSS-feeds, WordPress blog and CMS, theme development, customized plugins. Google Adwords and Analytics (Google Analytics Platform Principles). Eventbrite, Twitter, and Facebook APIs. Some knowledge of iOS technologies—app development, concept design. Interested overall in photography with Nikon camera houses, as well as typography.
Memberships↑ Back to Top
ASTR (American Society for Theatre Researchers), ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education), MLA (Modern Language Association), FemTechNet, FemBot, ADHO (Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations)
Interviews↑ Back to Top
Sara Arvidsson, “De vill göra dragshowen farlig,” Re:Public, May 4, 2017.
Thomas Nordegren och Louise Epstein, “Dragshow och normbrott,” Nordegren & Epstein, P1, Swedish Radio, June 12, 2014.
Suzanne Wikström, “Drag som motstånd,” Genus no. 3 (2010), p. 24.
Anders Backlund, “Tre drug-filmklipp du inte får missa,” QX, April 9, 2009.
Siri Lindstad, “T for Trans,” Kilden (Blog, Norwegian Research Council), September 26, 2008.
Christina Schilling, “After Dark, dragshower och Melodifestivalen,” Poplight (Blog), December 19, 2006.