Kalle Westerling is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where he works on a dissertation about the history and aesthetics of male-identified bodies in 20th-century burlesque and 21st-century boylesque. He is also 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.

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). Recently, 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. In 2017, he will also dramaturge Parts Unknown—their reading series of newly written drama.

Kalle has taught courses at Villanova University, New York 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 in 2015 and 2016, 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.


Theatre and Performance
The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, NY 10016 (Expected March 2021)
Graduate Certificate, Women’s & Gender Studies (completed 2013).

Performance and Theatre Studies
Stockholm University, SE-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden (Expected June 2018)

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.

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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