The case of the management of the dead related to COVID-19
Ahmed Al-Dawoody

This article studies one of the humanitarian challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis: the dignified handling of the mortal remains of individuals that have died from COVID-19 in Muslim contexts. It illustrates the discussion with examples from Sunni Muslim-majority states when relevant, such as Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan, and examples from English-speaking non-Muslim majority states such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and Australia as well as Sri Lanka. The article finds that the case of the management of dead bodies of people who have died from COVID-19 has shown that the creativity and flexibility enshrined in the Islamic law-making logic and methodology, on the one hand, and the cooperation between Muslim jurists and specialised medical and forensic experts, on the other, have contributed to saving people’s lives and mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Muslim contexts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Marco Aurelio Guimarães, Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Martin Evison, Edna Sadayo Miazato Iwamura, Carlos Eduardo Palhares Machado, Ricardo Henrique Alves da Silva, Maria Eliana Castro Pinheiro, Diva Santana, and Julie Alvina Guss Patrício

Exhumation may be defined as the legally sanctioned excavation and recovery of the remains of lawfully buried or – occasionally – cremated individuals, as distinct from forensic excavations of clandestinely buried remains conducted as part of a criminal investigation and from unlawful disinterment of human remains, commonly referred to as bodysnatching. The aim of this article is to review the role of exhumation – so defined – in the activities of CEMEL, the Medico-Legal Centre of the Ribeirão Preto Medical School-University of São Paulo, in international, regional and local collaborations. Exhumations form part of routine forensic anthropology casework; scientific research in physical and forensic anthropology; and forensic casework conducted in collaboration with the Brazilian Federal Police; and are carried out as part of humanitarian investigations into deaths associated with the civil–military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. This article aims to offer a non-technical summary – with reference to international comparative information – of the role of exhumation in investigative and scientific work and to discuss developments in their historical and political context.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
A Focus on Community Engagement
Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez, and Sylvain Landry B. Faye

Johnson Sirleaf declared a national state of emergency and mandated a controversial and widely disliked policy of mandatory cremation for all persons who had died from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), as well as mandatory lockdowns and the notorious militarised quarantine of the West Point area, one of Monrovia’s most densely populated slums. Another part of the Monrovia, Montserrado County’s sixth electoral district, called District 6, one of the most

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Beyond the burden of the real
Paul Henley

: Ika Hands (shot in 1981, though not released until 1988), which presents the life of the priestly figures known as mama among the Ika, an Amerindian indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, northeastern Colombia, and, finally, Forest of Bliss (shot in 1984, released in 1986), an extended meditation on mortality in the form of a day-in-the-life account, from one sunrise to the next, of the funeral practices in and around the cremation pyres on the ghāts, the stepped

in Beyond observation
Duncan Sayer

thousands of cremations. However, most cemeteries contained around one hundred graves and were in use for 75 to 150 years; although Wasperton (in Warwickshire) and Spong Hill had their origins in the fourth century AD and so were used for considerably longer (Carver et al., 2009 ; Hills and Lucy, 2013 ). Even at these large, long-lived sites burial did not take place every week, every month or even every year. Burials were infrequent but, because cemeteries are usually found adjacent to settlements, they would have hosted other gatherings too. In connecting the past

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Open Access (free)
The daily work of Erich Muhsfeldt, chief of the crematorium at Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, 1942–44
Elissa Mailänder

processes of killing and the cremation work at Auschwitz have been thoroughly researched by Robert Jan van Pelt,15 there has been no such study of Majdanek. As in Auschwitz, the ‘removal’ of corpses was an important job within the extermination process at Majdanek. First, it had to be carried out as efficiently as possible, for reasons of hygiene and the threat of epidemics, and, second, this work had political significance, for it was, of course, about removing evidence of mass murder. The job was done by special squads in Majdanek, as in Auschwitz. Jewish and Soviet

in Destruction and human remains
Élisabeth Anstett

relating to the perpetuation of the group.1 These rituals frequently involve the use of temporary graves, as the final burial or cremation of the bodies is, in the societies studied by Hertz and in others, only the last stage of this process. Few studies in this field, however, have dealt with collective burials. Anthropologists interested in the specific contexts of wars and epidemics2 have developed the notion of ‘catastrophe burial’, which relates to the simultaneous mass burial of large numbers of corpses as a result of natural disasters, famine, disease or conflict

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
Machines of mass incineration in fact, fiction, and forensics
Robert Jan van Pelt

, which had become firmly anchored in a culture of research and invention guarded by the Kaiserliche Patentamt (Imperial Patent Office), renamed in 1919 the Reichspatentamt (Reich Patent Office), located in its monumental headquarters in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. At the same time as Germany was rising as an economic power, Jewish religious authorities proclaimed an explicit injunction against cremation when it acquired increasing popularity in the late nineteenth century. From rabbinical times onwards, rabbis had tried to establish which acts of non

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
Duncan Sayer

discussed in this book dates between the middle-fifth and the later-seventh or earliest-eighth centuries, a span of some 250 years. In the last 250 years Western societies have seen profound changes to gender and dress, and attitudes to the dead have undergone significant change as well, such as the secularisation of the deathbed and the funeral, and the adoption of cremation in the early twentieth century (Davies 2005 ; Walter 1994 ). Attitudes towards gender have changed substantially, so today women have the right to work, vote and own property, and are found in

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
John Borneman

affinity between melancholia, preserving the dead and belief in an absolute end, on the other. Each of these distinctions breaks down in any attempt to use them as the basis for a typology of types of societies. Cremation and preservation, for example, are often practised simultaneously in many societies. But as radical orientations and affinities, they are nonetheless a useful point of departure. Before moving to particular cases drawn from my own ethnographic work, let me begin with an unfashionable comparison of culture regions, and acknowledge the rough historical

in Governing the dead