An Introduction to Diva Nation
The introduction describes how we define and think about the diva in this volume. We discuss the way divas systematically draw our attention to the performative nature of identity, to gender, and to battles over control of female bodies and female sexuality. We want our case studies to move beyond archival portraits to consider historically and culturally informed diva imagery and diva lore. From ancient goddesses and queens to modern singers and writers, we note that each chapter critically reconsiders the female icon, tracing how she has been offered up for emulation, debate, or censure. We ask how the diva disrupts or bolsters ideas about nationhood, morality, and aesthetics. She is ripe for expansion, fantasy, eroticization, and playful reinvention, yet her unavoidability also makes her a special problem for patriarchal culture.
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