Di-ology: Year one

August 28, 1998

Stage one:Shock

September 1997 Nottingham Trent University produced figures estimating that 30 per cent of Britons were as shocked by Diana's death as they would have been by the outbreak of war.

Stage Two: A coming to terms

November The first conference on Diana wasorganised by Nadine Fattelay of Emerson College in Boston. The Free Universityof Berlin politicalscience department pulled itself together sufficiently to offera series of lectures "Myths and Politics - from the Princess of Wales to the Queen of Hearts".

The London-based Forum for Independent Psychotherapists held a "publicdialogue" on "The week that Shook the World".

Sussex University's cultural studiesconference focused on Diana.

Stage three: Perspective

Diana-relatedseminars are upand running around the country. Anumber are widely mocked for their approach: Jude Davies, lecturer in cultural studies in Winchester introducing paper for a York conference "willoutline a history of the Diana sign whereby its transition from a magicalsynthesis of binary oppositions to a focus of argument and inspiration has opened up possibilities for unpacking the knot of meanings around royalty,patriarchy, class, imperialism andethnicity".

January 1998: Nadine Fattelay of Emerson College, Boston, organisesa second Dianaconference in Paris. University of East London hosts apsychoanalyticconference on "The Princess, the Premier and the People: Authority in New Britain."

February: Around 100 academics attend the New Sensibilities? conference at the University of Kent.

Stage four:Backlash

March: Janet Sayers,Kent professor of psychoanalyticpsychology, announces she had changed her mind since writing in October that reaction to her death might mean the end to "the unfeeling, uncompassionate me first selfishness of recent years". She says "It may be comforting to some to have a Saint Diana. But it's hardly the stuff to transform the politics of emotion that many need and want" Sydney University publishes Planet Diana, a collection of essays.

April: Anthony O'Hear,professor of philosophy at Bradford University andhonorary directorof the Royal Institute of Philosophy,publishes a chapter "Diana, queen of hearts: sentimentality personified and canonised".

Faking It: the Sentimentalisation of Modern Society is published by the Social Affairs Unit.It acknowledges that Diana's funeral was the most phenomenal event in recent times, but condemns the woman herself for elevating "feeling, image and spontaneity over reason, reality and restraint."

Stage five: The perspective broadens ...

August: "An Era of Celebrity and Spectacle:The Global Rhetorical Phenomenon of Diana, Princess of Wales", a commemorative conference organised by Emerson and hosted by Goldsmiths College mediastudies department. Dr Frederick Maillez, the doctor whotreated Princess Diana will outline pertinent medical issues surrounding celebrity, according to the organisers.

Mandy Merck of Sussex University's "After Diana", abook of interviews critiquing the public response to Diana's death, the weekafter her death, and the creation of agoddess.

September: Glasgow to host an internationalconference on Death, Dying and Disposal organised by Margaret Mitchell, reader in psychology at Glasgow Caledonian.

October: A new MA on Death and Society starts at Reading University. "Of course Diana will come into it.," says Tony Walter.

November: Interdisciplinaryjournal New Formations special issue on "Dianaand Democracy", exploring the ways Diana raised wider political questions and the collective ways in which culture has responded.

Spring 1999: Diana as Icon due out from Lancaster University's Jeffery Richards, Scott Wilson and Linda Woodhead.

August: Tony Walter's book on Mourning for Diana due to bepublished.

Other texts-in-waiting: Elaine Showalter's book, Epic Livesof Women, from Mary Wollstonecraft to Princess Diana,"the latest, if not the greatest of female icons" expected.

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