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The manifold materialities of human remains

In this article we explore the relational materiality of fragments of human cadavers used to produce DNA profiles of the unidentified dead at a forensic genetics police laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Our point of departure is an apparently simple problem: how to discard already tested materials in order to open up physical space for incoming tissue samples. However, during our study we found that transforming human tissues and bone fragments into disposable trash requires a tremendous institutional investment of energy, involving negotiations with public health authorities, criminal courts and public burial grounds. The dilemma confronted by the forensic genetic lab suggests not only how some fragments are endowed with more personhood than others, but also how the very distinction between human remains and trash depends on a patchwork of multiple logics that does not necessarily perform according to well-established or predictable scripts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Colonialism, grave robbery and intellectual history

In 1885, the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow presented three human skeletons from the colony of German South West Africa to the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory. The remains had been looted from a grave by a young German scientist, Waldemar Belck, who was a member of the second Lüderitz expedition and took part in the occupation of colonial territory. In an attempt to re-individualise and re-humanise these human remains, which were anonymised in the course of their appropriation by Western science, the authors consult not only the colonial archive, but also contemporary oral history in Namibia. This allows for a detailed reconstruction of the social and political contexts of the deaths of the three men, named Jacobus Hendrick, Jacobus !Garisib and Oantab, and of Belck’s grave robbery, for an analysis of how the remains were turned into scientific objects by German science and institutions, as well as for an establishment of topographical and genealogical links with the Namibian present. Based on these findings, claims for the restitution of African human remains from German institutions cannot any longer be regarded as a contemporary phenomenon only but must be understood as part of an African tradition of resistance against Western colonial and scientific practices.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
A Focus on Community Engagement

: The International African Institute, James Currey and Heinemann ). Richards , P. ( 2016 ), Ebola: How a People's Science Helped to End an Epidemic ( London : Zed Books ). Richardson , E. T. , Barrie , M. B. , Kelly , J. ( 2016 ), ‘ Biosocial Approaches to the 2013–2016 Ebola Pandemic ’, Health and Human Rights Journal , 18 : 1 , 115 – 28 , PMID: 27781004 . Saez , A. M. , Borchert , M. ( 2014 ) ‘ Burial in Times of Ebola - Dos and Don’ts – issues of acceptability ’, Ebola Response Anthropology Platform , www.ebola-anthropology.net/key_messages/burials-in-times-of-ebola-dos-and-donts-issues-of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

), ‘ Third World Industrialization: “Global Fordism” or a New Model? ’, New Left Review , 182 , 5 – 31 . Anderson , C. ( 2007 ), ‘ The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete ’, Wired , 16 July , http://archive.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/16-07/pb_theory (accessed 9 February 2015 ). Bauman , Z. ( 2000 ), Liquid Modernity ( Cambridge : Polity Press ). Becker , K. F. ( 2004 ), The Informal Economy: Fact Finding Study ( Stockholm : Sida

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
From the Global to the Local

and more concretely children’s experiences of school and learning. For instance, the eight-year-old daughter of one of my interviewees attends a double-shift UNRWA school in North Lebanon, where she is one of more than 50 children in her class. 13 As an UNRWA science teacher noted, it is simply not possible for teachers to meaningfully teach children in such large classes: ‘these children learn nothing at school – they can only learn if their parents can help them at home’. 14 Learning, as in the case of childbirth, is increasingly being

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor: Peter Burnell

Democratization is a major political phenomenon of the age and has been the focus of a burgeoning political science literature. This book considers democratization across a range of disciplines, from anthropology and economics, to sociology, law and area studies. The construction of democratization as a unit of study reflects the intellectual standpoint of the inquirer. The book highlights the use of normative argument to legitimize the exercise of power. From the 1950s to the 1980s, economic success enabled the authoritarian governments of South Korea and Taiwan to achieve a large measure of popular support despite the absence of democracy. The book outlines what a feminist framework might be and analyses feminist engagements with the theory and practice of democratization. It also shows how historians have contributed to the understanding of the processes of democratization. International Political Economy (IPE) has always had the potential to cut across the levels-of-analysis distinction. A legal perspective on democratization is presented by focusing on a tightly linked set of issues straddling the border between political and judicial power as they have arisen. Classic and contemporary sociological approaches to understanding democracy and democratization are highlighted, with particular attention being accorded to the post-1989 period. The book displays particularities within a common concern for institutional structures and their performance, ranging over the representation of women, electoral systems and constitutions (in Africa) and presidentialism (in Latin America). Both Europe and North America present in their different ways a kind of bridge between domestic and international dimensions of democratization.

Open Access (free)
Why exhume? Why identify?

search for bodies and their identification  – has traditionally remained in the hands of forensic science and has so far only marginally attracted the interest of history, social anthropology, or law despite the magnitude of their respective fields of application. In this context, one of the primary contributions of this volume is to connect the social and forensic sciences, for the first time, in a joint and comparative analysis of how societies engage in the process of searching for and identifying the 2   Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus corpses produced by

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
Identities and incitements

) of social worlds. These are issues to which I shall return. The point now is that the account ahead explores the elaborations of identities within historical anthropology, including postcolonial perspectives and subaltern approaches. In these domains, identities have been articulated as part of critical considerations, at once theoretical and empirical, not only of colony and community and empire and nation, but also of

in Subjects of modernity
Open Access (free)

Introduction Like all concepts in political theory, gender has a history. Unlike most of these concepts, though, the history of gender is comparatively short. The term itself originated in the nineteenth century, arising in the context of descriptive and diagnostic social sciences of human behaviour. It was only adopted into political theory, as a result of a political process of struggle, about 100

in Political concepts

4 The concealment of bodies during the military dictatorship in Uruguay (1973–84)1 José López Mazz The political violence that occurred in Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century was deeply rooted in historic and prehistoric cultural traditions. To study it in a scientific way accordingly requires both the development of a specific set of cultural and historical methodologies and a leading role to be played by archaeological techniques and forensic anthropology. Our focus is in part on apprehending and understanding violent practices

in Human remains and identification