Full Disclosure

Full Disclosure

Writer/photographer/blogger Craig Seymour, PhD., has created a stir with his new book about the work-study job that helped fund his graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. The title: All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. (Atria, 2008).

Even without this nude new addition to his résumé (academics say “C. V.” or curriculum vitae), Dr. Seymour has an impressive record: Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, former pop music critic of the Buffalo News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writer for The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, and Spin.

The American Studies Program at UM College Park has a long academic tradition of ethnography, the use of observation and interviews instead of libraries and armchair analysis, so it is not that surprising that Professor Seymour wrote his master’s thesis on an under-reported community. The title: Desire and Dollar Bills: An Ethnography of a Gay Male Striptease Club in Washington, D.C. One of the dancers challenged Mr. Seymour to try performing himself; he did, and found it supplemented his puny Teaching Assistant income and bolstered his sense of self. He became a participant-observer. “If you think about it in terms of the schedule too, it works perfectly for a grad student,” he told Elizabeth Redden of Inside Higher Ed. 

Residents of the District of Columbia are aware that, after three decades, many of the city’s gay strip clubs were displaced by the development of Nationals Park baseball stadium. Craig Seymour’s study and book may be the best records of this unusual vanished community.

This fall Dr. Seymour assumes his new tenure-track position as Associate Professor of Journalism at Northern Illinois University. We have it on good authority that the interview did not involve a swimsuit competition.

 Hat tip: insidehighered.com

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