900 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045

Divas and Chorus Girls: Art, Commerce, and Nation in 19th and early 20th century Spanish Cultural Production


The cultural production of 19th and early 20th century Spain is obsessed with dancers, singers, and other female performers. In Spanish fiction, poems, (auto)biographical writings, and plays produced between 1845 and 1936 by both male and female authors, numerous often very talented women sing, dance, and act. In her presentation, Versteeg will discuss some of the interconnected discourses that are projected on the bodies of these female performers, such as gender ideology and ideas about feminine self-realization and women’s participation in celebrity culture. Female performance is also a crucible for a whole range of larger questions raised by the processes of social and cultural change that we associate with modernity. These concerns are related to art and commerce, body, and nation, to mention only a few. And that’s not surprising: female performers catered to an emerging mass culture market, developed marketing strategies, and they used their bodies to negotiate ethnic, racial, and national identities as they participated in modernity’s mobility and circulated in transnational networks.

The 35th Annual Seaver Lecture, named after James E. Seaver, long-time director of the Humanities and Western Civilization Program at the University of Kansas, offers faculty at KU the chance to present their research related to “continuing issues in Western Civilization.” This talk is hosted by the Hall Center and co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

  • Rick Hellman
  • Kelley Hurst

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