Introduction They lay in the peat moss 28 years and 9 months before they were looked at again, when some Countrymen, having observed, I suppose, the extraordinary Quality of this Soil, in preserving dead bodies from corrupting, were curious enough to open the ground to see if these Persons had been so preserved, and found them in no way altered, the Colour of their Skin being fair and natural, their Flesh soft as that of Persons newly dead. (Part of a letter from Dr Charles Balguy of Peterborough, to Cromwell Mortimer, MD, cited in Balguy 1735 : 413) This
When Billie Whitelaw was rehearsing Footfalls in 1976, she asked Beckett: ‘Am I dead?’, to which he replied cryptically: ‘Let's just say you're not quite there’ (Whitelaw, 1995 , 143). This equivocal presence of the body in the play recalls a precedent from twenty years before, namely the character Miss Fitt in the radio play All That Fall , who tells Maddy Rooney: ‘I suppose the truth is I am not there, Mrs Rooney, just not really there at all’ (Beckett, 2009a , 14). Though written two decades apart, both instances refer to the Jung
This article will investigate the process of confronting death in cases of the disappeared of the last military dictatorship in Argentina. Based on the exhumation and identification of the body of a disappeared person, the article will reflect on how the persons social situation can be reconfigured, causing structural changes within the family and other groups. This will be followed by a discussion of the reflections generated by the anthropologist during his or her interview process, as well as an investigation into the authors own experiences in the field. This intimate relationship between the anthropologist and death, through the inevitable contact that takes place among the bodies, causes resonances in the context both of exhumations and of identifications in the anthropologists wider fieldwork.
There are many factors at work in the iconography of human remains. Some of those frequently discussed are aesthetic criteria, iconographic traditions and specific contingencies, whether political (for example in war paintings), symbolic (essential for transi images) or cultural. There is, however, one factor that is rarely mentioned, despite its centrality: the regime of value associated with corpses. Christ’s body is not painted in the same way as that of a departed relative or that used in a human dissection. Artists choose a suitable iconography depending on how the remains are perceived. This criterion became absolutely crucial in contexts such as nineteenth-century France, when attitudes to corpses underwent major changes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented global crisis. To limit the spread of the virus and the associated excess mortality, states and governing bodies have produced a series of regulations and recommendations from a health perspective. The funerary aspects of these directives have reconfigured not only the ways in which the process of dying can be accompanied, but also the management of dead bodies, impacting on the dying, their relatives and professionals in the sector. Since March 2020, the entire process of separation and farewell has been affected, giving rise to public debates about funeral restrictions and the implications for mourning. We carried out a study in France and Switzerland to measure the effects of this crisis, and in particular to explore whether it has involved a shift from a funerary approach to a strictly mortuary one. Have the practices that would normally be observed in non-pandemic times been irrevocably altered? Does this extend to all deaths? Has there been a switch to an exclusively technical handling? Are burial practices still respected? The results of the present study pertain to the ‘first wave’ of spring 2020 and focus on the practices of professionals working in the funeral sector.
supervising, controlling, and disciplining individual bodies. 3 With regard to ‘child rescue’, the moniker given to evangelical attempts at ‘improving’ the lives of children living in poverty in the late nineteenth century, the scholarship is less complete, especially when it comes to the sick and disabled. 4 By considering the treatment and experience of the impaired/disabled child in a voluntary organisation, the Church of England-sponsored Waifs and Strays Society, this
This article seeks to show that the bodies of Jewish people who died in the Drancy internment camp between 1941 and 1944 were handled on French soil in a doubly normalised manner: first by the police and judicial system, and then in relation to funeral arrangements. My findings thus contradict two preconceived ideas that have become firmly established in collective memory: first, the belief that the number who died in the Drancy camp is difficult to establish; and second, the belief that the remains of internees who died in the camp were subjected to rapid and anonymous burial in a large mass grave in Drancy municipal cemetery.
The after-effects of mass atrocity – bodies and bones – struggle to be defined within memorial projects. This article seeks to examine the politics at play in displaying dead bodies to interrogate the role of materiality in efforts to memorialise and raise awareness about on-going violences. It focusses on the nexus between evidence, dignity, humanity and memory to explore bone display in Rwanda. It then takes up two artistic projects that play on the materiality of human remains after atrocity: the art of Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who took ashes from an urn at the Majdanek concentration camp and used them as the material for his painting, and the One Million Bones Project, an installation that exhibits ceramic bones to raise awareness about global violence. In thinking about the intersections between human biomatter, art and politics, the article seeks to raise questions about both production and consumption: how bones and ashes of the dead are produced, and how they are consumed by viewers when placed on display in a variety of ways.
9 The Tutsi body in the 1994 genocide: ideology, physical destruction, and memory Rémi Korman Since 1994, bodies have been at the centre of the memorialization of the Tutsi genocide. For, in addition to constituting evidence in the context of forensic investigations, they are publicly exhibited in memorials to the genocide. The display of bodies aims principally to remind visitors of the historical facts of the genocide: not only the sites of massacres, but also the form these took. Far from being an incidental detail, the methods employed by the killers are an
11 Governing through the mutilated female body: corpse, bodypolitics and contestation in contemporary Guatemala1 Ninna Nyberg Sørensen Introduction This chapter examines the brutal killing of women in post-war Guatemala, the interpretations that these murders engender and the place of the dead bodies in the country’s contestations over sovereignty. It grows out of having lived and worked (with other issues) in the country 2005–9 and by being horror-struck by Guatemala’s ever present perverse blend of beauty and terror: The breath-taking range of landscapes