****Forwarded message from Rachel Cowgill <[log in to unmask]>****
The Diva: An Interdisciplinary Conference
5-8 July 2011, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool UK
CALL FOR PAPERS: EXTENSION OF DEADLINE to 7 February 2011
In association with the University of Liverpool and the European Opera Centre.
Among the first recorded uses of the term ‘diva’, beyond the conventions of chivalry, was in early nineteenth-century Italian sonnets venerating the operatic prima donna. Translating literally as ‘divine woman’, the term became inseparable from the major female roles of grand opera, and celebrated sopranos such as Maria Malibran, Giulia Grisi, and Pauline Viardot; but by the turn of the twentieth century it was also being applied to the leading ladies of the theatrical stage and to a new generation of heroines of the silver screen. Becoming more than a tag of admiration, diva increasingly signified a complex of behaviours, some of them liberating and empowering, but others perhaps less so – capriciousness, grandiosity, selfishness, excess. Diva thus represented a set of gendered expectations against which female performers rising to prominence were measured and critiqued. Writing in 2010, we note how the connotations have shifted again, to the extent that ‘diva’ is as likely to occur in social-networking sites and gossip columns - in relation to footballers’ wives (indeed footballers themselves), TV celebrities and businesswomen - as it does in discussions of the latest star performers of the opera, cinema, and stage.
The Diva as identity and idea is the central theme of this conference, which seeks to examine the etymology of the term and its changing associations and values over time and around the globe. How do the mythic and the real interact in the life and career of the diva? What are the cultural conditions that have created this category of female performer and how does it play more broadly across cultures in conveying a specific type of feminine behaviour and attributes? Papers are invited to shed light on this theme from any relevant discipline, including musicology and ethnomusicology, anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, history, literary studies, media and communications, film, dance, and theatre studies.
The programme will include keynotes from Professors Lloyd Whitesell (Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Canada) and Stacy Wolf (Program in Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University, US), and an open rehearsal and discussion centring on the training and development of young singers with Laurent Pillot (Head of Singer Development and Artistic Programme Adviser), Kenneth Baird (Managing Director), and singers from the European Opera Centre (see: www.laurentpillot.com and www.operaeurope.eu).
Rachel Cowgill, Liverpool Hope University, UK
Freya Jarman, University of Liverpool, UK
Hilary Poriss, Northeastern University, US
Richard Witts, Edge Hill University, UK
Abstracts of no more than 200 words for 20-minute papers should be sent by email to Professor Rachel Cowgill (email: [log in to unmask]) by 7 February 2011.
****End of forwarded message****
Dr J. P. E. Harper-Scott
Department of Music
Royal Holloway, University of London