Event—Scholarly Seminars

Jayne Swift, public scholar, and Lucas Bensley, Loyola University-Chicago


The Last Peepshow: Gentrification, Corporatization, and Erotic Dance in Post-Industrial Cities, Dr. Jayne Swift, public scholar

My paper analyzes the labor struggles erotic dancers encounter within post-Fordist cities and economies. Drawing upon my case study of the Lusty Lady theater (a recently closed and historically significant adult entertainment franchise located in Seattle and San Francisco), I illuminate how two intertwined national trends –gentrification and corporatization of the stripping industry—have had deleterious consequences for workers in the stripping industry. Juxtaposing the obsolescence of this particular business against the rise of independent contracting within and increasing professionalization of the stripping industry, I ask how sex workers have managed to nurture post-capitalist politics despite the odds.

“Daring Dames and Dirty Deeds:” A History of Chicago Burlesque from 1870 to 1938, Lucas Bensley, Loyola University-Chicago

“Daring Dames and Dirty Deeds” is a short history of burlesque in Chicago in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. This is a shorter version of a dissertation project that analyzes both burlesque and drag through the lens of urban history, labor, and gender and sexuality. I seek to answer how and why artists turned to burlesque for employment and self-expression; what made Chicago burlesque unique as a business and artistic style of performance; and how Chicago burlesque and drag adapted to and was shaped by changes in cultural taste and economic fortune in Chicago up to the present.