Our 3rd annual Conference

Corpses in Society: Human Remains in post-Genocide and Mass Violence Contexts

Third Annual & International Conference of the Research Programme:
Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide

8th, 9th & 10th September 2014
University of Manchester (UK)
Room 4/5, Staff House

In Europe and all over the world, mass violence and genocide have been a structural feature of the 20th century. The research programme, Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide, aims at questioning the social legacy of mass violence by studying how different societies have coped with the first consequence of mass crime: the mass production of cadavers.

The research programme’s third and last annual conference aims to address the place given to the remains of victims in post- genocide and mass violence contexts. Whether reburied, concealed, stored, abandoned or publically displayed, as in Cambodia or Rwanda today, these remains indeed raise a vast number of questions regarding their legal, ethical and social uses.

When, how and why are bodies hidden or exhibited and what is their effect, either desired or unintended, on various political, cultural or religious practices? How do issues of confiscation, concealment or the destruction of bodies and body parts in mass crime impact on transitional processes, commemoration or judicial procedures?

This conference will gather scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds across 12 countries in Europe, Africa and America, in order to study the precise function given to human remains once extreme violence is over.

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Monday 8th September 2014

14.30-15.30 – Welcome & keynote speech

Introductory address by Élisabeth Anstett (CNRS, France) & Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, UK)

Keynote speaker: Caroline Sturdy Colls (Straffordshire University, UK), “’Earth Conceal Not My Blood’: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Locating Human Remains of Holocaust Victims”

15.30-16.00: Coffee break

16.00-17.30 – Storage, science & culture

Chair and discussant: Luis Rios (Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi, Spain)

Paul Lane (Uppsala University, Sweden) & David Anderson (University of Warwick, UK), “Past, Present and Future Treatment of Unburied Victims of Mau Mau (Kenya): Where and When Does the Violence End?”

John Harries (University of Edinburgh, UK), “Whispers of Old Acts Indelible: The Voice of Bones and the Poetics of Postcolonial Regret”

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Tuesday 9th September 2014

10.30-13.00 – Corpses of the Holocaust: sites and rituals

Chair & discussant: Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, UK)

David Deutsch (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel), “The Case of Post War Rabbinical Responsas”

Joachim Neander (Kraków, Poland), “Symbolically Burying the Six Million — Post War Soap Burials as an Act of Remembrance and Collective Mourning”

Zuzanna Dziuban (Universität Konstanz/Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany), “Spatializing ‘Buriality’: Nazi Extermination Camps in Poland and the Cultural Politics of Grief”

13.00-14.00: Lunch break

14.00-15.30 – Ethics and knowledge

Chair & discussant: Francisco Ferrandiz (Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Spain)

Ayala Prager (University College London, UK), “Cognizing the Corpse: Individuality, Identification and Ir/Reconcilable Communities in Post-Genocide Rwanda”

Francisca Alves Cardoso (CRIA – Center for Research in Anthropology, FCSH, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal) “’Abandoned’?: Exploring the Ethical Framework of Human Remains in Portuguese Identified Collections”

15.30 – 16.00: Coffee break

16.00 – 18.00 – Film screening

Chair & discussant: Francisco Ferrandiz (Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Spain)

Ravished Armenia (USA, 1919, fragments), introduced by Sévane Garibian (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Morir de sueños (Spain, 2011, 25’), presented by the film-maker, Clement Bernad (Spain)

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Wednesday 10th September 2014

9.00-10.30 – Territories and borderlands

Chair & discussant: Jon Shute (University of Manchester, UK)

Gaetano Dato (University of Trieste, Italy), “Chained Corpses: Warfare, Politics and Religion after the Habsburg Empire in the Julian March, 1938-1965”

Devlin M. Scofield (Michigan State University, USA), “Atoning for the Past by Honouring the Dead: Wiedergutmachung and the Commemoration of 11 Alsatian Victims of Nazi Terror, 1947-1952”

10.30-11.00: Coffee break

11.00-12.30 – Geopolitics of reburial

Chair & discussant: Élisabeth Anstett (CNRS/Iris, France)

Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha (The University of Namibia, Namibia), “’Taking Aim at the Germans’: The Return of Herero Genocide Human Remains and the Politics of Reburial”

Martijn Eickhoff (NIOD, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), “Human Remains and the Memory Landscape of 1965 in Semarang (Indonesia)”

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch break

14.00-15.30- Politics and memorials

Chair & discussant: Caroline Fournet (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Lore Colaert (Ghent University, Belgium), “From Knowledge to Acknowledgement: Spanish Mass Grave Exhumations as Mobile Seminars in Public History”

Rémi Korman (EHESS/DESPRA, France), “Burial in Dignity of Victims and Memorial Practices”

15.30-16.00 – Conclusive remarks and perspectives