Kalle Westerling is a Digital Humanities Research Software Engineer with the British Library and the Turing Institute, in the Living with Machines research project. He holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance from The Graduate Center, CUNY. His doctoral research focused on itinerant drag performers around New York and along the Eastern Seaboard in the 1930s as part of a collective art form that brought queerness with them to towns and cities around the area. He has also written on topics ranging from queer indie wrestlers, boylesque and male-identified strippers in neo-burlesque, and the influence of RuPaul’s Drag Race on the livelihood and aesthetics of contemporary New York City drag queens.

Previously, he was the project manager for the NEH-funded project “Expanding Communities of Practice,” aimed at helping to create infrastructure for digital humanities across several higher education institutions across the U.S. He is a member of the Steering Committee of HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory.


Theatre and Performance
Graduate Certificate, Women’s & Gender Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, NY 10016 (2022)

Performance and Theatre Studies
Stockholm University, SE-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden (2006)


La Dolce Vita: Trettio år med drag (La Dolce Vita: Thirty Years in Drag). Stockholm: Normal, 2006.

“Material Girls: The Negotiation of Shame in the Material Culture of Contemporary Drag Queens,” Proceedings from the Yale conference The Urban Catwalk. Forthcoming.

“After Sex?” (review of After Sex?: On Writing since Queer Theory, eds. Janet Halley and Andrew Parker), lambda nordica, no. 3 (2012), 119–122.

“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.

Blog Posts

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

Spectacle: Balancing Education, Theory, and Praxis (ATHE, August 3–6, 2017)

  • Performing With/In Intermedial Spectacles: 21st Century Performativity and Media Interface – Panel

  • Spectacles of Gender in Musical Theatre, Popular Entertainment, and Performance Art – Panel

  • Sequins, Feathers, and High Heels: Historicizing Burlesque in Las Vegas – Preconference

The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities (HASTAC, November 2–4, 2017)

  • Possibilities and Realities of Digital Humanities Across Disciplines: What can other disciplines learn from DH and what can DH learn from other disciplines? — Roundtable

  • HASTAC Scholars Unconference

Extra/Ordinary Bodies: Interrogating the Performance and Aesthetics of “Difference” (ASTR, November 2–4, 2017)

  • The Queer, Resistant, Historical Bodies of Taylor Mac’s A 24 Decade History of Popular Music – Roundtable Conversation

  • Digital Research and Scholarship: Digital Defense for Artists, Scholars, & Activists – Working Group


American Society for Theatre Researchers

Association for Theatre in Higher Education

Kalle Westerling

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