How Russian offi cials viewed and represented the participation of the local population in the 1916 revolt

This chapter examines how different strata of colonial officials in Central Asia perceived the local population, or how they viewed, related to and understood the “natives”, whose affairs they were assigned to govern. By drawing on archival sources, it argues that their views on the local population’s lives, activities, motives and so on were based on stereotypes and were often very different from the actual situation. The revolt very much brought to the fore all the fears and stereotypes colonial officials in Turkestan had regarding the local population. As a result, instead of trying to understand the genuine reasons for the revolt, which often stemmed from the abuses and incompetence of the local authorities (both “native” and Russian), the colonial administration tried to comply with the tsar’s decree by any means possible.

in The Central Asian Revolt of 1916
The uprising of 1916 in Semirech’e

This chapter seeks to understand why the death toll of the uprising, in both the settler and native societies, was highest in Semirech’e. It was the intersection of ethnic mobilization and the fear of destruction in the hands of the “enemy” group that gave rise to the mass nature of violence. Both parties to the conflict were driven in their actions by what they saw as a threat to their livelihoods and indeed their lives. Although the threat posed by groups and individuals was often exaggerated, perceptions of the threat were real. That this threat was embodied by the aggregate group – rather than certain individuals – was the chief reason behind the indiscriminate targeting of the non-combatant, civilian population by both rebels and colonists.

in The Central Asian Revolt of 1916
The revolt as an interface of the Russian colonial crisis and the World War

While a large number of researchers have studied the revolt of 1916 in Central Asia, they have not provided sufficient answers to two fundamental questions. Why did the uprisings take place almost only in Central Asia, while the edict to mobilize labourers was issued also to indigenous peoples (inorodtsy) of other parts of the Russian Empire, namely Siberia, the Caucasus and Kalmykia? Why did it occur in the year of 1916, even though its causes had been accumulated during many years of Russian rule? To answer these questions, this chapter examines the specificities of administration in Russian Central Asia, social changes in this region during World War I, and people’s perception of Russia’s situation in the war and relations with its adversaries.

in The Central Asian Revolt of 1916
Open Access (free)
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than 300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition, collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that impacted on the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

The construction of an underground car park beneath the main square of Turin, Italy in 2004 led to the unearthing of the skeletonised remains of twenty-two individuals attributable to the early eighteenth century. At this time the city was besieged during the War of the Spanish Succession in a hard-fought battle that resulted in unexpected triumph for the Piedmontese, a victory that marked a fundamental turning point in Italian history. The current study assesses the strength of evidence linking the excavated individuals to the siege and assesses their possible role in the battle through consideration of their biological profiles, patterns of pathology and the presence of traumatic injuries. This article presents the first analysis of evidence for the siege of Turin from an anthropological point of view, providing new and unbiased information from the most direct source of evidence available: the remains of those who actually took part.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Based on a study of intersecting French archives (those of the Val de Grâce Hospital, the Service Historique de la Défense and the Archives Diplomatiques), and with the support of numerous printed sources, this article focuses on the handling of the bodies of French soldiers who died of cholera during the Crimean War (1854–56). As a continuation of studies done by historians Luc Capdevila and Danièle Voldman, the aim here is to consider how the diseased corpses of these soldiers reveal both the causes and circumstances of their deaths. Beyond the epidemiological context, these dead bodies shed light on the sanitary conditions and suffering resulting from years of military campaigns. To conclude, the article analyses the material traces left by these dead and the way that the Second Empire used them politically, giving the remains of leaders who died on the front lines of the cholera epidemic a triumphant return to the country and a state funeral.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Mercenaries are fighters who operate under special conditions. Their presence, as shadow combatants, often tends to exacerbate the violence of their enemies. That’s why the analysis focuses on the singularity of the relationship to death and ‘procedures’ concerning the corpses of their fallen comrades. As a fighter identified and engaged in landlocked areas, the mercenary’s corpse is treated according to material constraints pertaining in the 1960s. After violence on their body, and evolution towards the secret war, mercenaries favour the repatriation of the body or its disappearance. These new, painful conditions for comrades and families give birth to a collective memory fostered by commemorations.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal