This article theorizes camp as an aesthetic category that references the divided parts of global society, or the moment of political economy called distribution. By completing Sianne Ngai’s unfinished taxonomy of aesthetic categories, I simultaneously collect a promiscuous archive of contemporary cultural materials (classics like the movies of John Waters and the early performances of Bette Midler, as well as such recent works as Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth, the television show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and music videos by Fergie, Nicki Minaj, and Psy) and show how this archive provides lessons on the distribution of wealth, precarity, and belonging in our world.
Camp’s Distribution: “Our” Aesthetic Category
Michael Dango is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, where he is also a residential fellow in the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. His dissertation is titled “Style as Action: Novel Adaptations of the Contemporary” (2017).