The Roots and Routes of Burlesque (Visualization)

This is a first draft of my visualization of the roots and routes of burlesque for my comprehensive exams. I will post a more fleshed out description of the visualization as soon as I have time (after I go in and write the exam on Wednesday this upcoming week). But I wanted to share with you this preliminary progress—if nothing else to motivate myself these last couple of hours before the exam.

If you want to look at it more closely, you can see it as an image here.


Please note that this is a post that I have cross-posted from my personal blog at

I am making huge strides right now in relation to my second exam readings (I am almost entirely finished with my reading for two of the fields). Yet, I am also increasingly frustrated by something, which I assume is part of the idea of having a comprehensive exam in the first place: I am getting so many ideas for my dissertation. I am currently writing a huge amount of notes on ideas that I’m having in relation to the dissertation plan that I am going to write as soon as I possible can, once I pass this exam. But the note taking on dissertation ideas is taking so much time from my reading that I’m getting nervous about finishing reading for that third field.

Anyway. I think my dissertation will take a little broader approach to ideas that I have had before, and be directed towards male striptease more generally. Currently, I am thinking about including:

  1. • A history of male striptease in vaudeville and burlesque: from strongmen to female impersonators and sissy comics;
  2. • Recentering the “gentrification”/”Disneyfication” of Times Square on the stories of male striptease dancers;
  3. • Trading on class status outside of money capital v. increasing surveillance in cities with declining/destroyed economies and politics;
  4. • The Rise and Fall of the Chippendales;
  5. • Boylesque as the glamorous “other”—as part of new burlesque, a global movement, and tourist industry.

I am so excited. And I don’t want to read another word right now. But that’s exactly what I am going to do.