Human remains and identification, from editors Elisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus, presents a pioneering investigation into the practices and methodologies used in the search for and exhumation of dead bodies resulting from mass violence. Previously absent from forensic debate, social scientists and historians here confront historical and contemporary exhumations with the application of social context to create an innovative and interdisciplinary dialogue.
The book argues that the emergence of new technologies to facilitate the identification of dead bodies has led to a ‘forensic turn’, normalising exhumations as a method of dealing with human remains en masse. However, are these exhumations always made for legitimate reasons? And what can we learn about societies from the way in which they deal with this consequence of mass violence?
Multidisciplinary in scope, this book presents a ground-breaking selection of international case studies, including the identification of corpses by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the resurfacing of human remains from the Gulag and the sites of Jewish massacres from the Holocaust.
Human remains and identification is available now. To purchase, please visit the Manchester University Press website.
Remembrance of the Holocaust often focuses on those who have suffered and perished in concentration camps, ghettos or on death marches. But the killing sites, places where mass shootings took place, are still relatively unknown. Popular and official political commemorations, as well as much scholarly research, have tended to focus on the extermination camps, the gas chambers and the ghettos. The victims of these mass murders were predominantly Jewish and often lived nearby. Communities that existed and thrived for centuries perished in a few hours, hastily buried in unmarked graves and pits.
IHRA’s conference “Killing Sites – Research and Remembrance”, hosted by the Pedagogical University of Krakow, took place from 22 – 23 January 2014. The full report can be read here, naming global and regional actors in the field, summarising past endeavours, and analysing recent approaches to provide an overview of the subject. The conference was attended by a variety of experts in the field and focused on fieldwork as well as exploring regional perspectives, databases, education and commemoration.
For more information please see here.
The ‘Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide’ programme is pleased to announce issue 1 of the new academic journal Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal with Manchester University Press.
This first issue – in line with the journal’s interdisciplinary scope – regroups articles from a variety of authors working in a diverse range of disciplines. Each article addresses issues concerning the identification of, and /or political roles ascribed to, human remains generated by different events around the globe. Investigating the production of cadavers en masse following environmental disasters, Claudia Merli and Trudi Buck focus on identification and identity politics in 2004 post-tsunami Thailand. Turning to the consequences of mass violence on the fate of human remains, Therkel Straede and Louise Zamparutti each explore the Second World War period, the former in Belarus and the latter in Italy, while Patricio Galella examines Francoist Spain. Turning to a more contemporary case, Admir Jugo and Senem Škulj investigate forensic work conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Online submissions can now be made via the Human Remains and Violence ScholarOne website: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/hrv
Sévane Garibian has published ‘Truth versus impunity: Post-transitional justice in Argentina and the ‘human rights turn”‘ in the African Yearbook of Rhetoric (vol. 6, no.1, 2015, pp. 63–73).
This paper addresses the juridical treatment of the crimes committed by the Argentine dictatorship and divides the proceedings into two stages – the transitional phase proper (from 1983 to the 1990s) and the post-transitional phase (from the 1990s to the present day) – constituting a return from punishment to pardon, and back again. Both phases saw a number of abrupt turns, each corresponding to a shift in the paradigm through which the abuses committed by the military regime were confronted. The period between these two phases, meanwhile, saw the appearance of the ‘human rights turn’ based on a prescriptive injunction to pursue what was seen as a necessary fight against impunity for perpertrators of the most serious crimes. This development gave rise to new subjective human rights (such as the ‘right to the truth’) which would in turn contribute to developments in criminal law relating to these matters. The criticisms voiced in relation to this ‘criminalisation of human rights’, along with the highly complex and diverse nature of the Argentine experience, illustrate the uncertainties with which we are inevitably confronted when attempting to re-think the very notion of justice during a stage of political (post-)transition in the aftermath of a period of state-committed mass crimes, with the inevitable degree of creative transformation of the law and its functions that this entails.
For more information please see here.
Sévane Garibian has recently published ‘De la rupture du consensus. L’affaire Perinçek, le génocide arménien et le droit pénal international’ in Le génocide des Arméniens: Cent ans de recherche 1915-2015 with publisher Armand Colin.
2015 – the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide – is also the year of the (ongoing) revision by the Grand Chamber of the Doğu Perinçek v. Switzerland judgment rendered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 17 December 2013. This paper focusses on one of the arguments set forth by the ECHR in 2013 in which Swiss criminal jurisdictions in this case of genocide denial are disfavoured: the problematic argument based around the absence of a “general consensus” on the 1915 genocide. This contribution aims to shed light on the paradoxes and consequences of such an argument that calls, notably, for a historical perspective – and demands, in particular, that we look back on the history of international criminal law.
Laura Muñoz Encinar and Julián Chaves Palacios have published the paper “Extremadura: behind the material traces of Franco’s repression” in a special edition of the journal Culture and History, presenting work from the long-running “Faces and traces of violence” seminars.
The paper analyses the mass executions linked to rebels’ occupation of territories in the Extremadura region of Spain throughout the Spanish Civil War and the post-war period. The authors pay particular attention to the systematic rearguard killings in occupied areas, elimination procedures carried out in concentration camps and prisons, and the fight against the armed guerrilla during the Franco dictatorship.
Fore more information please see here.
Pamela Colombo (Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide programme) has published an edited collection with Estela Schindel on the relation between violence, memory and space: Space and the memories of violence: Landscapes of erasure, disappearance and exception.
Focusing on enforced disappearances and genocide as violent practices aimed at destroying and erasing the traces of the ‘enemy’, the contributions gathered inquire about the manifold spatial strategies of domination and violence, but also about the powers of memory, resistance and transformation. The originality and core contribution of this book lies in the dialogue it establishes between memory studies, on the one hand, and critical studies of space on the other. The bridging of these academic fields opens up a fertile and unexplored research area.
The volume brings together young academics and prominent international scholars from a variety of disciplinary fields, including Geography, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, Literature, Cultural Studies, Architecture and Theatre Studies. The authors engage with the spatial deployment of past and present violence in Argentina, Cambodia, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the United States.
Please click here for more information on the publisher’s website and a sample chapter.
Destruction and human remains: disposal and concealment in mass violence and genocide is the latest book from editors Elisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus, investigating a crucial question frequently neglected in academic debate in the fields of mass violence and genocide studies: what is done to the bodies of the victims after they are killed? In the context of mass violence, death does not constitute the end of the executors’ work. Their victims’ remains are often treated and manipulated in very specific ways, amounting in some cases to true social engineering, often with remarkable ingenuity. To address these seldom-documented phenomena, this volume includes chapters based on extensive primary and archival research to explore why, how and by whom these acts have been committed through recent history.
Interdisciplinary in scope, Destruction and human remains will appeal to readers interested in the history and implications of genocide and mass violence, including researchers in anthropology, sociology, history, politics and modern warfare.
Destruction and human remains is available now. To purchase, please visit the publisher’s website or order using the form here.
Sevane Garibian has published “La consécration juridique de témoins oubliés: le juge argentin face au génocide des Arméniens”, in Carrières de témoins de conflits contemporains (2). Les témoins consacrés, les témoins oubliés.
“The Turkish state perpetrated the crime of genocide against the Armenian people between 1915 and 1923.” This statement, made in Buenos Aires on 1 April 2011 by an Argentinian Federal Judge, constitutes the core of a court decision that is the first of its kind in the world and that offers a legal consecration – (re)cognition – of the forgotten witnesses of a crime denied by Turkey. The sentence takes its place in an altogether singular framework: the sui generis judicial practice of juicio por la verdad (trial for the truth), a national procedure created in Argentina in the 1990s in response to the politics of forgetting then related to the crimes committed during the military dictatorship. This practice is the direct product of an initial situation of effacement and impunity, that calls for the creation of alternative judicial mechanisms of validation of the criminal fact and consecration of its victims / witnesses.
The Corpses of mass violence and genocide programme is pleased to present the new book series Human Remains and Violence with Manchester University Press. The first title, Governing the Dead edited by Finn Stepputat, is available now.
In most of the world, the transition from life to death is a time of intense presence of states and other forms of authority. Focusing on the relationship between bodies and sovereignty, Governing the dead explores how, by whom and with what effects dead bodies are governed in conflict and non-conflict contexts across the world, including an analysis of the struggles over ‘proper burials’; the repatriation of dead migrants; abandoned cemeteries; exhumations; ‘feminicide’; the protection of dead drug-lords; and the disappeared dead. Mapping theoretical and empirical terrains, this volume suggests that the management of dead bodies is related to the constitution and membership of states and non-state entities that claim autonomy and impunity.
This volume is a significant contribution to studies of death, power and politics. It will be useful at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in anthropology, sociology, law, criminology, political science, international relations, genocide studies, history, cultural studies and philosophy.
For more information please visit the publisher’s website, or use the form here.