Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.
The biopolitics of corpses of massviolence and genocide
For the past four decades, students of biopolitics have been probing
why the spectacular growth in the application of technologies
and policies that aim at the optimization of human life has been
articulated with a parallel proliferation of human death. Various
studies have been suggesting many objects or sites that are arguably
highly symptomatic of the issue at hand – a privileged epitome of
the biopolitical quandary. The most famous of these is the camp
Destruction and human remains investigates a crucial question frequently neglected from academic debate in the fields of mass violence and Genocide Studies: what is done to the bodies of the victims after they are killed? Indeed, in the context of mass violence and genocide, death does not constitute the end of the executors' work. Following the abuses carried out by the latter, their victims' remains are treated and manipulated in very particular ways, amounting in some cases to social engineering. The book explores this phase of destruction, whether by disposal, concealment or complete annihilation of the body, across a range of extreme situations to display the intentions and socio-political framework of governments, perpetrators and bystanders. The book will be split into three sections; 1) Who were the perpetrators and why were they chosen? It will be explored whether a division of labour created social hierarchies or criminal careers, or whether in some cases this division existed at all. 2) How did the perpetrators kill and dispose of the bodies? What techniques and technologies were employed, and how does this differ between contrasting and evolving circumstances? 3) Why did the perpetrators implement such methods and what does this say about their motivations and ideologies? The book will focus in particular on the twentieth century, displaying innovative and interdisciplinary approaches and dealing with case studies from different geographical areas across the globe. The focus will be placed on a re-evaluation of the motivations, the ideological frameworks and the technical processes displayed in the destruction of bodies.
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal is a biannual,
peer-reviewed publication which draws together the different strands of academic
research on the dead body and the production of human remains en masse, whether
in the context of mass violence, genocidal occurrences or environmental
disasters. Inherently interdisciplinary, the journal publishes papers from a
range of academic disciplines within the humanities, social sciences and natural
sciences. Human Remains and Violence invites contributions from scholars working
in a variety of fields and interdisciplinary research is especially welcome.
Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than
300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before
the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were
intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked
Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential
neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak
grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter
them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem
treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and
their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of
the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay
systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition,
collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that
impacted on the victims.
: Cornell University Press ).
Guichaoua , A. ( 2005 ), Rwanda 1994: Les Politiques du Génocide à Butare ( Paris : Karthala ).
Guichaoua , A. ( 2015 ), From War to Genocide: Criminal Politics in Rwanda 1990–1994 ( Madison : University of Wisconsin Press ).
Kimonyo , J-P. ( 2016 ), Rwanda’s Popular Genocide: A Perfect Storm ( Boulder, CO : Lynne Rienner ).
Lemarchand , R. (  2018 ), ‘ Rwanda: The State of Research’ , originally published May 27, 2013, revised edition published 25 June 2018. www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence
, S. and Vandeginste , S. (eds), L’Afrique des Grands Lacs, Annuaire 2010–2011 ( Paris :
L’Harmattan ), pp. 303 – 18 .
Ingelaere , B. ( 2011b ), ‘The ruler’s drum and the people’s shout: Accountability and representation on Rwanda’s hills’ , in Straus , S. and Waldorf , L. (eds), Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after MassViolence ( Madison : University of Wisconsin Press ), pp. 67 – 78 .
Ingelaere , B. ( 2012 ), ‘From Model to Practice: Researching and Representing Rwanda’s “Modernized” Gacaca Courts’ , Critique of
Integrative concepts for a criminology of mass violence
Moral discourse and action in relation
to the corpse: integrative concepts for a
criminology of massviolence
Introduction: the moral–emotional ‘work’ of serious
crime in peacetime and in conflict
In stable, late-modern societies, crimes are adjudicated breaches
of morality formally defined in law. They are variable in content
across place and time, and do not always have a readily identifiable victim or definitions that have the informal moral support
of the population; however, many of the most serious offences
against the person and property
Introduction: why exhume? Why
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus
This book arises from the second annual conference of the ‘Corpses
of massviolence and genocide’ research programme held in
Manchester on 9–11 September 2013, forming one part of a threephase study.2 The first phase, which was the subject of a conference
in Paris in 2012 and subsequent publication, focused on the treatment of dead bodies just after the murders themselves.3 Studying
the fate of cadavers that have been abandoned, destroyed, dismantled, hidden, traded, or desecrated
Corpses and mass violence: an inventory of the unthinkable
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus
Introduction. Corpses and massviolence:
an inventory of the unthinkable
Élisabeth Anstett & Jean-Marc Dreyfus
Massviolence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth
century, which some have even called the ‘century of genocides’.1
Scarred by the Armenian genocide, the Holodomor in Ukraine, the
Spanish Civil War, the Holocaust, the gulags and, more recently,
the crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia, Europe alone
offers a range of examples of such extreme events.2 These outbreaks of massviolence particularly affected civilians, unlike