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Vol. 11 No. 2: April issue

​​The Butt of the Joke​: Humour and Queer Care at an Anal Dysplasia Clinic

June 30, 2022


Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork I conducted at an anal cancer prevention clinic in Chicago, USA, this article considers queer camp humour as a care practice to better understand how providers and patients navigate clinical interactions centred around a stigmatised disease in a taboo body part. Humorous moments infused daily life at the clinic, and I came to see them as a critical feature of the clinic’s uniquely queer environment and a central aspect of the staff’s queer care practices. I argue the campy queer style of humour in the clinic was a vital tool for providing culturally appropriate care, and describe how humour mediated patient-provider interactions, had palliative effects, and managed dirt and bodily excess. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the importance of anthropological attention to humour and joking as forms of care.