Encountering Corpses

“…dead bodies are maps of power and identity.” (Foltyn 2008: 104)

This site is about the many ways in which we increasingly interact with the material remains of the dead in contemporary society. I am interested in how dead bodies play a variety of roles in diverse social, cultural, economic and political processes. As death perhaps becomes less of a taboo in “Western” societies, are the dead becoming more visible in everyday life? If so, what role do they play in processes as diverse as identity formation, nation building, media, protest, memory, remembrance and commemoration, celebrity and fandom, economies of death, trade in body parts, sexual orientation, belief systems and tourism?

“We” (perhaps more so in Western societies) tend to think of the dead, once buried, as static and immobile and separated from life. And yet corpses are increasingly the focus of contemporary social interest, are increasingly represented in diverse ways in different media, and are often surprisingly mobile. How do corpses perform diverse roles as material subjects and agents embedded in wider networks composed of human and non-human, material and immaterial actors? Dead bodies often form parts of complex assemblages of sites of burial and disposal, artefacts associated with burial sites or forms of remembrance, memories, ceremonies, and rituals (both personal and everyday and led by the nation-state and spectacular).

Throughout this there is also a concern with the ethics of talking about and representing the dead. There must be respect for the dead as people and as loved ones. This extends to considering the limits to which the dead should be displayed, on this blog and elsewhere in different media and contexts. One issue for me, for example, is in the ethics of teaching about the dead in a university context. I hope in this blog these issues are always carefully observed.


Scientific association “Justice: Memory, Narration and Culture (JUSMENACU)”

The Scientific Association Justice: Memory, Narration and Culture (JUSMENACU) was born around a project: to elaborate a theory of justice that really takes into account and relates the temporal, spatial and narrative dimensions as well as cultural diversity.


Clemente Bernard has carried out his latest projects in Latin America, the Middle East and Spain, where he is following the works of recovery of past memory, focused on the identification and exhumation of the graves of people murdered by Franco’s dictatorship, in the work entitled WHERE MEMORY DWELLS .


The Virtual Museum of Art and Memory

Virtual platform that gathers the artistic and cultural memories of the Peruvian internal armed conflict, this space seeks to generate dialogue between different entities in order to remember the past, as well as reflect on the connection of these symbolic narratives to historical events of war and the current social and political contexts.

Link: The Virtual Museum of Art and Memory

Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya Weblinks

The Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya Weblinks section includes virtual exhibitions, links to memorials in other parts of the world, documentaries and reports, etc..

Link: Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya Weblinks

September 75 Documentary

‘September 75’ explains the long struggle of the family of Humberto Xosé Baena, one of the last men shot by the Franco regime, and serves to clear his memory and mark the end of the dictatorship.

Link: September 75 Documentary

Site Blog PaleoAnthropo.es (EAF – Studies in Physical Anthropology)

This blog features news and information of interest about the world of physical anthropology as well as other associated areas such as genetics, archeology, history…

Link: Site Blog PaleoAnthropo.es (EAF – Studies in Physical Anthropology)

Digital Library for Identity

In the digital library of the National Commission for the Right to Identity you’ll find articles, documents, testimony, legislation and varied literature having to do with the right to identity.

Link: Digital Library for Identity

Memory Map

The Memory Map is an initiative of Asturias Opinion.

Link: Memory Map