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This article discusses how Armenians have collected, displayed and exchanged the bones of their murdered ancestors in formal and informal ceremonies of remembrance in Dayr al-Zur, Syria – the final destination for hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the deportations of 1915. These pilgrimages – replete with overlapping secular and nationalist motifs – are a modern variant of historical pilgrimage practices; yet these bones are more than relics. Bone rituals, displays and vernacular memorials are enacted in spaces of memory that lie outside of official state memorials, making unmarked sites of atrocity more legible. Vernacular memorial practices are of particular interest as we consider new archives for the history of the Armenian Genocide. The rehabilitation of this historical site into public consciousness is particularly urgent, since the Armenian Genocide Memorial Museum and Martyr’s Church at the centre of the pilgrimage site were both destroyed by ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) in 2014.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

death of Beltrán Leyva and the disfiguration of his corpse could also have influenced how people view the afterlife of his soul. Before continuing with this analysis, I have to clarify that the idea of purgatory as a physical place is not part of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine; however, gang members (and others) often believe that it is a place, as the noun grammatically indicates. This adds a spatial dimension to the purification process in purgatory, which becomes crucial to the ‘lives’ of the ‘bone-trapped’ souls who cannot leave earth because of their ‘bad

in Governing the dead
The disposal of bodies in the 1994 Rwandan genocide

cent Twa) and issued with an ID card upon which the label was inscribed. Following patrilineal custom, children would inherit the identity inscribed on their father’s ID card.12 Until 1997, the French term ethnie and the Kinyarwanda term ubwoko appeared on the ID card. For the colonial authorities, both terms were ‘synonyms for race in the biologically determinist sense’.13 As possible independence drew near, both a newly emergent Hutu elite (trained by the Roman Catholic Church) and the Tutsi court deployed the Hamitic hypothesis to argue, respectively, that the end

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda

genocide, churches, and the Rwandan state itself. What accounts for the specific features of the Rwandan case in this respect? In what context are these genocide exhumations carried out and who exactly are the actors organizing them in Rwanda? How are the mass graves to be located, opened, and selected, and how are the exhumed victims identified? The question of the role of foreign forensic anthropologists in Rwanda since the genocide is particularly important. While the role 204   Rémi Korman of foreign specialists in the memorialization and commemoration of the

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)

shows, these restless dead have kept influencing the politics of the living. Regnar Kristensen also gives an example of how state representatives themselves transgress laws and norms regarding dead bodies. Kristensen follows the dead body of Mexican drug lord Beltrán Leyva from the site of the killing to the site of Leyva’s burial in order to analyse the relationship between state and corpse, state and Church, and Church and soul. On the way, state officials engage in acts of transgression by humiliating and ridiculing the corpse, a show of excess that also

in Governing the dead
Open Access (free)
Negotiating sovereign claims in Oaxacan post-mortem repatriation

average of USD1,400 paid by the Mexican consulates per transfer of human remains.3 In the case of the repatriations that do not receive financial assistance from the SRE, the expenses of returning them are typically covered by relatives and the community, but also sometimes by the Church or private insurance companies. One notable effect of the intervention of the SRE in the repatriation of human cadavers to Mexico is that prices have fallen significantly over the last decade. As the director for protection for the United States at the SRE explained to me in an

in Governing the dead
Ideology, physical destruction, and memory

extremities that were supposedly characteristic of a Tutsi body. Noses and little fingers were thus cut off, from the dead as well as the living. This ideology drove some killers to attack objects and even animals. The most striking examples of this involved religious objects, and in particular statues which, in the minds of the killers, bore ‘the marks of a Tutsi body’. Militias thus broke the nose off DHR.indb 232 5/15/2014 12:51:28 PM The Tutsi body in the 1994 genocide  233 a statue of the Virgin Mary in Kibeho, an important site for the Catholic Church in Rwanda

in Destruction and human remains
Massacres, missing corpses, and silence in a Bosnian community

so, they saved many lives.14 The Ustašas were unable to carry out all the killings at the pit, and ended up murdering a number of Serbs near the local Orthodox Church in the town of Kulen Vakuf, as well as near the town’s primary school. They carried out these killings by cutting the throats of the victims, and they buried the bodies in shallow graves and ditches. They also killed large numbers of Serbs, not only men but also women and children, in a number of villages in the wider region, such as Doljani, Osredci, Bubanj, Nebljusi, and Suvaja. These killings often

in Destruction and human remains

an official Protestant state church, the folkekirken (Sedgwick 2014 ). Every Sunday morning church bells can be heard across the country. Nevertheless, explicit expressions of firm and unconditional faith in a transcendent invisible truth have almost acquired the status of blasphemy. This was seen when, in 2013, the congregation of a Danish village church straightforwardly advertised a vacant position for ‘a priest who believed in God’ (Politiken 2013 ). The reaction of the chairman of the Danish Society of Priests, Per Bucholdt

in Descending with angels

prominently some Romanov descendants, who wanted to reinstate the monarchy, and the Russian Orthodox Church, which had idealised the Czar and later, in the year 2000, even canonised the entire family. Both the Church and the imperial family supported an alternative version of the story, that the Romanov remains had been disposed of elsewhere in the same forest but destroyed beyond recognition – a very discomforting fantasy that combines a wish for annihilation, a persecutory position, with an idealisation of the dead. From the time of the killings, stories swirled: about

in Governing the dead