Le jeudi 9 mars 2023, à 18h (Australian Central Daylight Time) soit 8h30 en France, l’Australian Death Studies Society organise sa conférence annuelle 2023. Cet événement se déroulera en présentiel – Flinders University, Adelaide (Australie) – et en ligne : inscription ici.
Leur invitée est Elisabeth Anstett pour une communication intitulée “Mortality crises, funeral crises? Necropolitics in contemporary mass death contexts“
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Mortality crises, funeral crises? Necropolitics in contemporary mass death contexts
Episodes of mass death directly or indirectly related to human activity including but not limited to wars, mass crimes, terrorism, epidemics, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis leave societies to face a sudden and massive influx of corpses, both complete and dismembered. These paroxysmal situations immediately render visible the limitations of the grammars underlying ordinary funerals and rituals. Dead bodies en masse thus prove to be highly problematic at many levels, all the more so when they are fragmented or remain unidentified. This public lecture investigates the various challenges raised by the funerary treatment of unidentified human remains and dead bodies’ fragments in the aftermath of several examples of contemporary mortality crises. In these situations, human remains and cadaver fragments indeed co-exist with the living, often for a long time, and require each society to answer essential (philosophical or moral, but also legal and practical) questions about the status they are granted (from simple pieces of waste to sanctified relics), about the chain of custody they are submitted to, and about what funeral or burial arrangements can be organised. Indeed, in some cases, mortuary and funerary practices, as well as collective representations of death and the dead, have to be reshaped, while in other instances they have to be radically (re)invented in order to be able to deal with such problematic objects in such high volume. Building on the works of philosopher Achille Mbembé (2006), political scientist Finn Steputtat (2014) and social anthropologists Katherine Verdery (1999), Francisco Ferrandiz and Tony Robben (2015), and focusing on the issue of dead body governance in contemporary mass death contexts, this public lecture sheds light on the treatment of incomplete bodies and cadaver fragments to reveal their powerful political dimension and the way they challenge the very capacity of each society to symbolically perpetuate itself.
Elisabeth Anstett is a social anthropologist, and a tenured Directrice de Recherche at the CNRS, a French state organisation that is also Europe’s largest fundamental science agency. Elisabeth is a member of Adès (Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Droit, Ethique et Santé), an interdisciplinary research unit based at the faculty of medical and paramedical sciences of Aix-Marseille University that produces interdisciplinary works on dead bodies and human remains management and care in mass violence or crisis contexts. Elisabeth is also co-editor of the Human Remains and Violence book series and an interdisciplinary full free Open Access academic journal with Manchester University Press. She has published widely on human remains and received funding from French and European organisations. A trained anthropologist, Elisabeth has considerable experience working with scholars of other disciplines, including but not limited to history, archaeology, law, political sciences and the medical sciences.
For more information about this event, feel free to liaise with joint organisers Romain Fathi and Kate Falconer at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.