Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies

Deborah Paredez

Associate ProfessorPh.D., 2002, Interdisciplinary
Theatre, Northwestern University

Deborah Paredez



Performance Studies; Poetry; Race, Gender, and Sexuality; Contemporary American Drama and Poetry; and Latina/o Studies


Deborah Paredez is a poet and scholar who writes about performance, memory, race, feminism, Latina/o culture, and divas.  She is the author of the poetry collection, This Side of Skin (Wings Press 2002) and the critical study, Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory (Duke 2009), winner of the 2011 Chicana/o Studies Association Book Award Honorable Mention and the 2010 Latin American Studies Association Latino Studies Book Award Honorable Mention. Her poetry and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, Callaloo, Latino Studies Journal, Theatre Journal and several anthologies. She is the co-founder of CantoMundo, a national organization dedicated to Latina/o poets and poetry.  On campus, she has served as Director of Arts and Community Engagement (2007-2010) and Associate Director (2009-2010) and Interim Director (2011) of the Center for Mexican American Studies.  An interview with her about her poetry is featured on the Poetry Foundation's monthly podcast.


MAS 392 • Divas: Perf Race/Gender/Sexlty

36125 • Fall 2011
Meets W 1100am-200pm DFA 4.104
(also listed as AFR 387D, E 389P)

What makes a diva a diva?   How are our ideas about performance, spectatorship, space, and capital shaped by the diva figure?  This course explores the central role of the diva—the celebrated, iconic, and supremely skilled female performer—in the shaping and re-imagining of racial, gendered, sexual, national, temporal, and aesthetic categories. Students in this course will theorize the cultural function and constitutive aspects of the diva and will analyze particular performances of a range of divas from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Awards & Honors

Awards & Honors

  • National Association of Chicana/o Studies Book Award Honorable Mention for Selenidad
  • Latin American Studies Association Latina/o Studies Book Award Honorable Mention for Selenidad
  • 2008-9 American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2002 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award for This Side of Skin


Other Departmental and Center Affiliations

  • Department of African and African Diaspora Studies
  • Center for Mexican American Studies
  • Center for Women and Gender Studies