Alejandro Escalante is a PhD student in UNC-Chapel Hill‘s Department of Religious Studies. His principal research focuses on the relationship between race, gender, and sexuality in predominantly Afro-Puerto Rican town of Loíza.
Each July, hundreds of people converge on the small town to celebrate la fiesta de Santiago Apóstol, the festival of St. James. And each year, festival goers and religious celebrants alike take part in a ten-day celebration, which includes costuming and drag performance. Inspired primarily by Judith Butler’s Bodies That Matter and her analysis of drag and performativity, he explores the various characters that appear during the festivities, with particular emphasis on the locas, men who perform drag.