In 2005, as I was finishing up my master’s thesis, I was approached by the then recently opened publishing house Normal (the name, of course, being ironic). They were the first queer publisher in Scandinavia and were scouting for young authors who had edgy subjects that would fit into their mission statement, which included publishing LGBT-oriented literature that challenged heteronormativity. I decided to rewrite my master’s thesis over the course of a couple of months, and the result was La Dolce Vita, which came out in October 2006.
The book is in Swedish and is divided into two section. The first is an account of the history of After Dark (their website), a famous Swedish drag troupe that had, when the book came out, almost been performing for 30 years and is now considered an entertainment institution in Swedish popular culture. The second part of the book is a critical analysis of the queer politics of the troupe’s aesthetics. One of my main observations in the book is how the troupe is navigating gender and sexuality binaries (man/woman and heterosexuality/homosexuality) and even more so, how they have impacted gender norms and queer politics in a Swedish context.
After finishing the book, I continued some of the audience research I had found been lacking on a website created from the material used for the book: www.afterdark.nu. I had intentions to continue the website, but since moving to New York City, I haven’t had the time.
My current dissertation is taking the conclusions from La Dolce Vita and contextualizing them further in relation to Swedish drag culture and its history, more generally, as well as critically considering how the attachment to After Dark might have entailed a certain pinkwashing of Swedish politics.