CfP – The Shadow of Thatcher: Women, Feminism, Politics and Culture 30 Years On (Bristol, UK)

Department of Culture, Media and Drama, UWE

Gender and Culture Research Group

Conference May 8th – 9th  2009

In association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas


The Shadow of Thatcher: Women, Feminism, Politics and Culture 30 Years On

Call for Papers

The first British woman Prime Minister.  A resolute anti-feminist. Political icon.  Scourge of the left. What is the legacy for feminists and cultural scholars of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership?

As the 30th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s election as Conservative Prime Minister in 1979 approaches, a number of films and TV programmes have looked back reflectively, sometimes nostalgically, on the 1980s and her term of office (This is EnglandTory, Tory, Tory!The Road to Finchley,The Line of Beauty). Thatcher herself has been celebrated as the elder statesperson par excellence, on the pages of Vogue and posing with the Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, her personal image as the ‘iron lady’ burnished and brightened by an increasingly mythical status. The current revival of ‘eighties’ fashions and music has also mobilised the re-imagining of Thatcherism as a powerful, abrasive, and deeply productive driving force in British popular culture. No other national politician has been so profoundly or so consistently associated with such a wide range of cultural, social and political formations and identities as Margaret Thatcher, while Thatcherism, whether defined as a narrowly political ideology or as a set of tropes about nationhood, identity and culture, retains its resonance in everyday life. Why is this and what does it mean?

This conference will offer the opportunity to reflect on the continuing impact of Thatcherism and of Margaret Thatcher on feminist politics and popular culture since the 1980s.

·         Why does Margaret Thatcher remain such a powerfully iconic figure and what does this tell us about contemporary feminism?

·         What has been the legacy of Thatcherism for the cultural politics of class?

·         How has Thatcherism been represented and mediated in popular culture?

·         To what extent have Thatcherism and post-Thatcherism continued to problematise feminist politics and culture?

·         In what ways does the re-telling of the 1980s in contemporary film and TV compare to stories produced during that decade?


                Key Speakers:

*Charlotte Brunsdon * Heather Nunn * Jackie Stacey * Beverley Skeggs *

Papers and panel suggestions are invited on topics and themes which explore these or related issues.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Lisa.Thrower by January 31st 2009 .


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