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This paper looks at how ‘ordinary citizens’ empathized with someone facing the death penalty for, what was on the surface at least, a premeditated murder. It will track how emotions acted as binding agents that produced powerful attachments between Ruth Ellis and a wider public, and solidified a collective sense of the affective ethics of ‘normal’ life. One that was consciously articulated through the rhetoric of collective citizenship.

In tracking the varied appeals on behalf of Ruth Ellis, this paper highlights how intimacies and sexual subjectivities were coalescing in the postwar period around what it meant, and crucially what it felt like, to live an ‘ordinary’ life. 

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Please note that bookings for this event will close 24 hours in advance, to allow the convenors to distribute the meeting link.