National Atmospheres and the Funeral of Margaret Thatcher
Dr Angharad Closs Stephens
1730-1830, Thursday 3rd March, Clement House (CLM), Room 3.07, London School of Economics
How is nationality experienced as an affect, atmosphere or mood? At this first ASEN Seminar Series event of 2016, Dr Angharad Closs Stephens will present a paper which asks what it means to think about nationality as a set of feelings circling in the air, congealing around particular objects and materials, and echoing as part of an assemblage, through the event of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral held in London on 17 April 2013.
State funerals form key sites through which the state makes manifest its majesty and where we might experience sovereignty as an ‘aura’. Drawing on field-notes from the event, the paper addresses how ‘those little experiences of feeling part of a collective ‘we’ attach to procession, ceremony, banners, colours, gestures and military culture, making us feel that we’re a nation united in time.
The paper then turns to critical, creative engagements with the funeral, specifically by performance artist Tim Etchells and novelist Hilary Mantel, which form different attempts at interrupting the claim that ‘we’re all Thatcherites now’ (PM David Cameron). In engaging these attempts at invoking other feelings, the author asks how might national affects, atmospheres and moods be disrupted.
To reserve a place at this event please RSVP to the Seminar Series Chair, Iro, at email@example.com.