This introductory chapter explores how the invisible has been dealt with in
the social sciences, in Islamic theology, and in public debates in Western
media on the question of whether Islam is in fact the underlying invisible
cause of ‘integration problems’. The exploration of the invisibility and
hypervisibility of Muslims in the West leads to a discussion of invisibility
in relation to theories about human perceptual agency. While a number of
influential studies in anthropology and psychiatry have been concerned with
how best to account for human agency, it is proposed that both the
psychiatric and Islamic treatments that are the focus of the book point
primarily to the idea of human agency as an obstacle that needs to be
overcome in order to access either the invisible healing of God, or that of
psychotropic medicine. Finally the author discusses his approach to
ethnographic film and how he has applied the cinematic gaze as a
methodological and analytical tool for displacing his own perception when
studying the invisible among Danish Muslims.
The chapter will show how both the Soviet authorities and the leaders of independent Ukraine attempted to block real investigation and commemoration at the hamlet of Bykivnia, where the NKVD buried murdered bodies from 1939-1941. The chapter will look into how their attempts failed due to pressure from within—grave robbers and activists—and, especially, without—Germany and Poland. Following this account, details about the little-known Nazi and Soviet exhumations at the site will be examined.
In the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust, Poland was quite literally a vast Jewish cemetery. In fields, forests, by the side of roads, and in Jewish cemeteries throughout the country, the corpses of dead Jews were buried helter-skelter in mass graves, partially buried in an apparent rush, or even left unburied. Even Jews who had no intentions of remaining in postwar Poland returned to their home towns resolved to fulfill a solemn duty to give the dead a proper burial, if possible in a Jewish cemetery. Using several yizkor books, this chapter will examine the efforts of Polish Jewish survivors to exhume the corpses of their dead and then rebury them with dignity in accordance with Jewish ritual and the role of memory in depiction of this act.
The chapter will examine how forensic scientists, including anthropologists, have been exploring the potential of new methods and processes in the resolution of mass grave contexts. The introduction of DNA to contexts where these challenges exist has had some success in the Balkans and in Guatemala, two areas that have experienced brutal civil wars for a number of years. More recently, the analysis of elemental and osteometric measures on the body have demonstrated potential in attempts to re-associate remains. Ultimately however, technological developments complement extensive ante-mortem investigation and the two cannot be utilised independently if the required end result is to successfully identify victims.