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lectures > lectures autumn 2000

Mourning Diana: Cultural politics and public space

Speakers: Deborah Lynn Steinberg and Adrian Kear
14th October 2000

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, on 31st August 1997, prompted public demonstrations of grief on an almost unprecedented scale. Global media coverage of events following her death seemed to create an international 'community of mourning'. However, such scenes of 'mass grief' were shadowed by significant social and political tensions in Britain. The mourning (and not mourning) seemed to cross and yet confirm social divisions, to shift and at the same time redraw political boundaries. In this talk, Adrian Kear and Deborah Lynn Steinberg will examine the events that followed the death of Diana as a series of cultural and political phenomena, deployed through popular narrative and social performance. They will consider the often seemingly dramatic cultural changes and political recuperations emergent in the mourning of Diana, arguing that in this moment the borders dividing nationhood and citizenship, charity and activism, social dispossession and royal privilege, private feeling and public politics were sharply contested and yet ultimately reaffirmed.

Deborah Lynn Steinberg lectures in feminist, media and cultural theory in the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. Recent books include: Bodies in Glass: Genetics, Eugenics, Embryo Ethics; and Border Patrols: Policing the Boundaries of Heterosexuality (with D. Epstein and R. Johnson, Eds).

Adrian Kear lectures in performance and cultural studies at the University of Surrey, Roehampton. He writes about performance and cultural politics, theatre, temporality and philosophical ethics.