Seminar series in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory (CCM) and Birkbeck Guilt Working Group

Co-convened by Joseph Ford (IMLR), James Brown and Sam Ashenden (BBK)

Speaker: Naomi Segal (ILCS)

After the queen died, we were – to mix a metaphor, suitably I think – inundated with pious wall-to-wall media coverage of every aspect of her life and eventually ceremonial death. Even if we were a bit moved at first, it quickly became shockingly monotone and relentless. Then we watched ‘the people’ in queues and queues for queues, taking pride in their all-weather patience & ‘great British’ resilience – did they realise they would not actually see her, waiting in state for them, but only each other? The terms they used had strange hints of cheery but quasi-guilty indebtedness: ‘paying our respects’, ‘grateful’, ‘she was always there for us’. What do we owe a monarch? What does a monarch owe us? What are those respects that people only pay when someone is dead and cannot be recompensed?

Professor Naomi Segal is an Honorary Fellow at the ILCS. From 2004 to 2011 she was founding Director of the Institute (then known as the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies). She has served on or chaired numerous inter/national committees, and represented the UK on the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation 2005–11. She is the author of 18 books, including monographs Consensuality: Didier Anzieu, gender and the sense of touch (2009), André Gide: Pederasty & Pedagogy (1998), The Adulteress’s Child (1992), Narcissus and Echo (1988), The Unintended Reader (1986) and The Banal Object (1981). Her most recent book is a coedited volume of essays, On Replacement: Cultural, social and psychological representations (2018) and she is currently completing a monograph on replacement, to be published by Brill in 2022. Naomi Segal has chaired Cultural Literacy Everywhere – formerly Cultural Literacy in Europe – since 2007.
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