The status of bodies in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide
Anne Yvonne Guillou
From bones-as-evidence to tutelary
spirits: the status of bodies in the
aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide
Anne Yvonne Guillou
‘What is a body?’ The question asked by Stéphane Breton is one
that haunts those anthropologists who have to deal with any aspect
of the materiality of flesh and of its corruption.1 On the one hand
there is its materiality, through which the marks of mass violence
such as that of the Khmer Rouge genocide can be read,2 while on
the other there is its corruption, the slow process accompanying the
change in the religious
Since the early 1990s, armed actors have invaded territories in the Chocó and Antioquia
departments of Colombia, inhabited by Afro-Colombians and Indians whose collective rights
in these territories had recently been legally recognised. Based on long-term fieldwork
among the Emberá Katío, this article examines social, cosmological and ritual alterations
and re-organisation around violent death. Following a national policy of post-conflict
reparations, public exhumations and identifications of human remains reveal new local
modes of understanding and administration. In particular, suicide, hitherto completely
unknown to the Emberá, broke out in a multitude of cases, mostly among the youth. Local
discourse attributes this phenomenon to the number of stray corpses resulting from the
violence, who are transformed into murderous spirits which shamans can no longer control.
The analysis focusses on the unprecedented articulation of a renewed eschatology, the
intricate effects of an internal political reorganisation and the simultaneous inroad into
their space of new forms of armed insurrectional violence. Thus the article will shed
light on the emergence of a new transitional moral economy of death among the Emberá.
, p. 310.
2 Institoris and Sprenger, ii.131D–132A (pp. 355–56).
3 Although Richard Bernard’s Gvide to Grand-Ivry Men, which does deal
with such questions, was reprinted in the 1680s: see Bostridge, Witchcraft
and its Transformations, p. 88.
Witchcraft in the Restoration
the law, a much more pronounced concern with the ontological
status of spirits emerged.4 This had always been an important
underlying issue, but the Restoration debate on witchcraft dealt
with the relationships between witches, spirits, and the physical
world more openly than had hitherto
Beyond the witch trials
Public infidelity and private belief?
Public infidelity and private belief ?
The discourse of spirits in Enlightenment Bristol
Recent work on the history of witchcraft and magic has identified three
themes or approaches as of particular importance in our understanding of a
subject which, although it has been centre stage since the publication of
Religion and the Decline of Magic in 1971, has continued to trouble historians.
The first problem, acknowledged as ‘the most baffling aspect of this difficult
subject’ by Thomas
This book looks at aspects of the continuation of witchcraft and magic in Europe from the last of the secular and ecclesiastical trials during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, through to the nineteenth century. It provides a brief outline of witch trials in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland. By the second half of the seventeenth century, as the witch trials reached their climax in Sweden, belief in the interventionist powers of the Devil had become a major preoccupation of the educated classes. Having acknowledged the slight possibility of real possession by the Devil, Benito Feijoo threw himself wholeheartedly into his real objective: to expose the falseness of the majority of the possessed. The book is concerned with accusations of magic, which were formalised as denunciations heard by the Inquisition of the Archdiocese of Capua, a city twelve miles north of Naples, during the first half of the eighteenth century. One aspect of the study of witchcraft and magic, which has not yet been absorbed into the main stream of literature on the subject, is the archaeological record of the subject. As a part of the increasing interest in 'popular' culture, historians have become more conscious of the presence of witchcraft after the witch trials. The aftermath of the major witch trials in Dalarna, Sweden, demonstrates how the authorities began the awkward process of divorcing themselves from popular concerns and beliefs regarding witchcraft.
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.
Colonial powers and Ethiopian frontiers 1880–1884 is the fourth volume of Acta
Aethiopica, a series that presents original Ethiopian documents of
nineteenth-century Ethiopian history with English translations and scholarly
notes. The documents have been collected from dozens of archives in Africa and
Europe to recover and present the Ethiopian voice in the history of Ethiopia in
the nineteenth century. The present book, the first Acta Aethiopica volume to
appear from Lund University Press, deals with how Ethiopian rulers related to
colonial powers in their attempts to open Ethiopia for trade and technological
development while preserving the integrity and independence of their country. In
addition to the correspondence and treatises with the rulers and representatives
of Italy, Egypt and Great Britain, the volume also presents letters dealing with
ecclesiastical issues, including the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem.
This chapter discusses a different set of ideas about the construction of learned witch categories in the late Middle Ages, all of which, from the clerical perspective, revolved around the idea of direct or indirect commerce with the devil: heresy, black magic and superstition. In late medieval times, witchcraft was a composite – a combination of motifs derived from a number of quite different traditions: those associated with monstrous female spirits, animal transformation, demonolatrous heresy, maleficent magic and superstition being among the most prominent. The resulting composite figures were in no way haphazard; rather, each one of these established categories were used as a kind of conceptual template to provide the underlying principles around which one version of witchcraft was ordered and constructed. In the text, as in some other German texts, the witch was defined through her maleficium and practice of magic. Many French models of witchcraft depicted the witch more as a demonised heretic – a being defined by her willing entry into the demonic pact and her worship of the devil. In every case, however, the template originally chosen by the witch theorist both defined and restricted the field of his inquiry and the scope of his investigation, while determining, at the same time, the inherent plausibility of his definition of ‘witch’ and ‘witchcraft’, and the extent to which these categories could be used to drive witchcraft persecutions.
Death, landscape and power among the Duha Tuvinians of northern Mongolia
Benedikte Møller Kristensen
However, an older Duha man who had lived most of his adult life
in the city of Darhan, told me: ‘I am not a religious man. I do not
believe in Chötgör. When I walk over a graveyard my eyes do not
see anything and my ears do not hear anything [referring to spirits].’
Yet, all other Duha of my acquaintance never voiced doubts about
the presence of chötgör.
The reason why the new burial practices were never fully
embraced by the Duha may be connected to the tension between the
socialist and local concepts of cleanness and morality. The Duha told
me that they
regular appearance of black and Native American spirits to
I believe that we need to question why spiritualism crossed the water
and established itself as a popular and successful form in Britain as
quickly as it did. Much existing work on nineteenth-century British spiritualism has also resisted that question, though these are still early days in
that particular area of investigation.2 If we ask this, then we also need to
look again at how spiritualism ‘started’ in the ﬁrst place, and to ally our
ﬁndings to theoretical models of how aspects of culture