Seminar with Ruth Penfold-Mounce


Death Is Not the End: Posthumous Careers of Dead Celebrity Women

Welcome to a seminar with Dr. Ruth Penfold-Mounce, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of York. The seminar is arranged by the Cultural Matters Group and the Department of Sociology. Participants are invited to continue the discussion afterwards in the department’s lunch room over snacks.

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Segerstedt room (Eng 2-1026) in Engelska parken 14:15–16:00, January 24


For many celebrity individuals dying is a successful and lucrative career move, and if the transition from life to death is handled carefully, they can have a thriving posthumous career. Dying can rejuvenate, reinvent, and protect the celebrity from their (often) destructive live self. The death of a celebrity may therefore mean that although the physical body is gone, their image survives, which means that the celebrity dead do not leave us. This presentation will engage with the differing success rates of the posthumous careers of both celebrity men and women, for whom death is just the beginning of a new phase in their celebrity career. Drawing on data from the annual Forbes Top Earning Dead Celebrity List, case studies of such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor will highlight the commercial and symbolic value of the celebrity dead. This data will be used to suggest that gender inequality, particularly in economic terms, is so deeply entrenched during life that it can extend into death itself.