Queer at Camp
The American Camp Association reports some 12,000 summer camps in the United States alone, and there are nearly a thousand more in Canada. While especially popular in North America, summer camp is a global affair. Certain iterations of summer camp loom large in the popular imagination – Scout Camp, band camp, bible camp – but camps engage a staggeringly diverse range of interests and activities, from sports to language learning, computing, forensic science, weight loss, and so forth. Some camps are specialized; some have a general education and/or elective curricular structure. Although we tend to imagine young people as camp’s primary attendees, camp seems to increasingly provide a space for adult play and nostalgia: see, for example, the emergence of “Camp No Counselors” in upstate New York; Netflix’s recent resurrection of the summer camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer; and “Camp Camp,” Maine’s camp for LGBT adults.
For an edited book volume, we seek analyses of camp as a queer time and/or place. We mean summer camp primarily but not narrowly; the temporalities and iterations of camp are many. Camp is a powerful site of bonding, romance, and/or sex, of heightened or marked relations of gender and/or sexuality. Homophobia has marked traditional forms of camping, especially those for boys, even as there are now camps for queer youth, such as Camp Aranu’tiq, founded to serve transgender youth. What role does camp play in development, learning, and desire? How does it shape our understandings of childhood, adulthood, and their relationship to one another? Is camp utopian or dystopian, a parallel or alternative universe? Does it intersect with Camp as Sontag and others have articulated such? How and where is camp represented in popular culture? What are camp’s engagements with the indigenous, the native, the local? With the national or global? How does camping – organized, disorganized, somewhere in between – encourage or enable queerish desires and identities? What forms of sociality or kinship does camp permit? How does affect circulate in and around camp? How might queer theory speak to this complex phenomenon?
Submissions should be interrogative but format is open. We welcome scholarship, photo essays, critical memoir, and creative work. 350-500 word chapter proposals (or the equivalent) are due to both editors by April 15, 2016. Proposals should be for original works not previously published (including in conference proceedings) and not currently under consideration for another published volume. If the essay is accepted for the collection, a full draft (5000-7000 words) will be required by October 1, 2016. Editors are happy to discuss ideas prior to the deadline.
Proposals should be submitted to: