Obama’s first college now offers a whole class on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Font Size:

The mediocre private liberal arts college that President Barack Obama attended from 1979 to 1981 before wisely transferring to Columbia University as a junior will now offer real academic credit for students who want to study the reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

The spring course at Occidental College in Los Angeles is entitled “Reading RuPaul: Camp Culture, Gender Insubordination, and the Politics of Performance,” reports Campus Reform.

The class will analyze “RuPaul’s Drag Race” from both gay and feminist gay viewpoints. Coursework will include watching a bunch of episodes of the Logo TV reality show and reading “Workin’ It,” a book RuPaul wrote in 2010.

In case you don’t watch a lot of Logo TV, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” is basically a conventional reality show with cross-dressing. There are contestants who get eliminated based on their performances in challenges including fashion design, musical performance and getting doused with water while dressed in full drag.

Daniel Williford, the course professor, told that “the overarching premise” of the class is to examine the reality show “as an example of the creative techniques that marginalized people use to grapple with the violence, shame and social illegitimacy that are the stuff of daily life.”

Williford added that liking “RuPaul’s Drag Race” isn’t a prerequisite.

“Students will be encouraged to critique this premise of the class and the show itself,” he told “But they will have to do so by immersing themselves in it.”

The course is offered through Occidental’s critical theory and social justice program.

Other courses in this vital and obviously grueling major include “Whiteness,” “Rasatafari” and a class called “Stupidity.”

The total cost for tuition, room and board and required fees this academic year at Occidental is $59,592.

Here is how the private college describes the RuPaul course:

This course introduces methods in Queer Theory and Feminist Theory by taking as the central object of study the reality competition show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” As the show brings the art of drag performance and issues attendant to contemporary queer subcultures to a wide audience, the course will consider how it addresses histories of drag and U.S. gay culture, as well as a broad range of issues such as transgender identity, HIV/AIDS, bullying and violence, racial identity, gender identity, body size, and LGBT political activism. Students will consider claims about the transformative, recuperative, and empowering art of drag performance. The course will draw from readings on the history of sexuality, feminist critiques of gender identity, transgender affect and embodiment, the history of race and racial identity, and drag and the politics of camp.

Follow Eric on Twitter and on Facebook, and send education-related story tips to