Conference: “Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide”

Editors Note: This is an archived blog post from 29/8/2013.

2nd Annual & International Conference of the Research Programme “Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide”

9th, 10th & 11th September 2013

University of Manchester (UK)

Room 4/5, Staff House

Search and Identification of Corpses and Human Remains in Post-Genocide and Mass Violence Contexts

Following a first conference in Paris in September 2012 focusing on the treatment of corpses in the phase of destruction, this second annual meeting of the research programme “Corpses of mass violence and genocide” aims to explore another post-killing severe manipulation of the bodies: addressing their search and identification. The beginning of the 21st century has already experienced many occurrences of this phenomenon, be it the opening of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War, the identification of corpses by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the long-standing search for disappeared political detainees in Argentina or the large-scale exhumations pursued in Rwanda. Whether bodies have been destroyed through industrial processes, mutilated, buried individually or collectively or even reburied in secondary or tertiary sites, the search and identification of these victims remains are undertaken in various circumstances and raise a wide range of questions.

The conference organisers have therefore gathered multidisciplinary contributions dealing with the search and recovery of bodies in various contexts of mass crimes, focusing in particular on the twentieth century. Studies will deal with a variety of geographical areas (Europe, Africa, America and Asia) and focus on the methods and processes involved in the search and identification of victims, as well as the motivations and interests behind these pursuits aiming at understanding what is at stake in conducting exhumations and human remains identification. From understanding these historical objectives, can we learn as much about the ‘searcher’ as we can about the ‘searched’?

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