On her many trips to Nigeria, Oluwakemi Balogun started noticing that every city she went to had a beauty pageant. “I noticed pageants were the social landscape to socialize in urban cities,” Balogun says in a discussion with Stanford University Press. “I was interested in the ways that beauty pageants were becoming so ubiquitous.” This led her on a quest to use this subject as a catalyst for other issues that plague humans, by focusing on gender, nation building and globalization. Her new book Beauty Diplomacy: Embodying an Emerging Nation takes us into the world of Nigerian beauty pageants. According to the press, the book examines how “Nigeria’s changing position in the global political economy” and “existing cultural tensions inform varied forms of embodied nationalism.” It examines four different case studies, including the very controversial case of Amina Lawal, a Nigerian woman who in 2002 was sentenced to death by stoning for conceiving a child out of wedlock. The conviction was overturned, but because of this conviction Nigeria lost the opportunity to host the Miss World pageant that same year after protests by many contestants around the world, covered heavily by BBC World News.
Oluwakemi Balogun will talk about Beauty Diplomacy: Embodying an Emerging Nation at noon Friday, Nov. 6. Register here.