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The futures of graveyard Gothic
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This chapter considers the future of the graveyard Gothic in a twenty-first-century landscape transformed by developments in the management and mourning of the dead, as well as by a growing secularism. The chapter begins with a discussion of how the multiple overlapping crises of the last decade have begun to reshape contemporary deathways: war, pandemic and a rapidly developing ecological catastrophe have all threatened to transform, whether temporarily or in more enduring ways, the relationship between the living and the buried dead. Here, as elsewhere in the collection, we explore the graveyard’s political ramifications through discussions of how COVID-19 reshaped burial practices, and how Spain has begun to reckon with its twentieth-century history through the exhumation of mass graves made in the Civil War era. What emerges is a picture of the graveyard’s resonance to contemporary movements for political and social justice, and speculations on how that might continue to develop in an age where resources are becoming scarcer due to population growth and environmental change. The chapter ends with a discussion of the future both of Death Studies as a field of scholarly endeavour and of burial itself as founding institution of many human civilisations.

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