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Beauty Diplomacy


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Table of Contents

1. The Nigerian Factor
2. Snapshots of Nigerian Pageantry
3. The Making of Beauty Diplomats
4. Miss Cultural and Miss Cosmopolitan
5. The Business of Beauty
6. As Miss World Turns
7. After the Spotlight

About the Author

Oluwakemi M. Balogun is Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology at the University of Oregon.


"With vivid description and sharp analysis, Beauty Diplomacy reveals the layers upon layers of complexity that surround the Nigerian beauty pageant industry. Seen through the eyes of contestants, producers, and anti-pageant protesters, the pageants are the object of contradictory desires, ambitions and fears. This highly engaging study shows how pageants have become the focal point for debates about the meaning of the nation, global political campaigns, and more."-Maxine Leeds Craig, author of Sorry I Don't Dance: Why Men Refuse to Move
"It's one thing to describe beauty practices and place them in historical context. It's quite another, bigger challenge to show how these practices embody disputes over national identity, culture, and economic development. Combining deep knowledge of Nigerian society with rich, painstaking field research, Dr. Balogun's book is the best I've read on the intersection of postcolonial nationalism, globalization, and bodies."-Erynn Masi de Casanova, University of Cincinnati, and co-editor of Bodies without Borders and Global Beauty, Local Bodies
"In Beauty Diplomacy, Balogun argues that beauty pageants are not benign; rather, they are arenas in which young women are trained, transformed, and deployed as beauty diplomats-forging ties among Nigerian businessmen and politicians, embodying nationalism, and serving as cultural ambassadors tasked with repairing the nation's reputation on the global stage. This clearly written and conceptually innovative book is a significant achievement."-Sanyu A. Mojola, author of Love, Money, and HIV: Becoming a Modern African Woman in the Age of AIDS
"Compellingly, Balogun uses the framework of global nationalism to describe the ways in which pageant organizers and participants navigate between constructing and embracing new forms of Nigerian nationhood....This engagingly written volume, of accessible length, should be read by academics at all levels, but will be a particularly excellent selection for advanced undergraduate courses in African studies and related fields. Highly recommended."-E. E. Stiles, CHOICE
"Oluwakemi M. Balogun's Beauty Diplomacy is a rich sociological study of the strategic role beauty pageants play when developing countries try to elevate their status as an emerging economy in the global neoliberal order."-Jaita Talukdar, American Journal of Sociology
"It can be challenging to trace how abstract concepts like globalization or nationalism appear in everyday life. But beauty pageants are an excellent site to explore cultural meaning-making.Beauty Diplomacyis a welcome addition to scholarship in global and transnational sociology as well as sociology of the body, embodiment, and gender."-Alka Menon, Contemporary Sociology

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