66 3 Chained corpses: warfare, politics and religion after the Habsburg Empire in the Julian March, 1930s–1970s Gaetano Dato In Trieste and the border region north of the Adriatic Sea, corpses played a very significant role in the construction of the public discourse about acts of violence in the era of the world wars. Human remains have been a concern for public memory, and for the collective entities connected to the local places of remembrance as well.1 Italians, Slovenians, Croatians, Habsburg officials, Communists, Nazis, Fascists and the Jewish
5 Travelling corpses: negotiating sovereign claims in Oaxacan post-mortem repatriation Lars Ove Trans This chapter explores the process of death and repatriation of a Mexican migrant, Jacinto, from his home in Los Angeles to his native village of San Pedro Yalehua, a Zapotec Indian community located in the Sierra Juárez mountain range in the southern state of Oaxaca.1 In this process, Jacinto’s close relatives suddenly find themselves in a situation where they have to navigate the claims of various different authorities representing states (local and federal
113 5 (Re)cognising the corpse: individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda Ayala Maurer-Prager Leontius … saw some dead bodies lying near the executioner, and he felt a desire to look at them, and at the same time felt disgust at the thought, and tried to turn aside. For some time he fought with himself and put his hand over his eyes, but in the end the desire got the better of him, and opening his eyes wide with his fingers he ran forward to the bodies, saying, ‘There you are, curse you, have your fill of the
9 Dangerous corpses in Mexico’s drug war Regnar Kristensen On 16 December 2009, 400 heavily armed soldiers from the Mexican marine forces entered an enclosed residential zone in the city of Cuernavaca to arrest the drug baron Beltrán Leyva, leader of the Mexican drug cartel of the same name. He was classified as the most violent drug cartel leader on the planet by the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and as an extremely dangerous enemy of the fatherland by the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón. For several hours, the marines were engaged in heavy
1 The biopolitics of corpses of mass violence and genocide Yehonatan Alsheh Introduction For the past four decades, students of biopolitics have been probing why the spectacular growth in the application of technologies and policies that aim at the optimization of human life has been articulated with a parallel proliferation of human death. Various studies have been suggesting many objects or sites that are arguably highly symptomatic of the issue at hand – a privileged epitome of the biopolitical quandary. The most famous of these is the camp that Giorgio
4 Moral discourse and action in relation to the corpse: integrative concepts for a criminology of mass violence Jon Shute Introduction: the moral–emotional ‘work’ of serious crime in peacetime and in conflict In stable, late-modern societies, crimes are adjudicated breaches of morality formally defined in law. They are variable in content across place and time, and do not always have a readily identifiable victim or definitions that have the informal moral support of the population; however, many of the most serious offences against the person and property
I focus on two contemporary art installations in which Teresa Margolles employs water used to wash corpses during autopsies. By running this water through a fog machine or through air conditioners, these works incorporate bodily matter but refuse to depict, identify or locate anybody (or any body) within it. Rather, Margolles creates abstract works in which physical limits – whether of bodies or of art works – dissolve into a state of indeterminacy. With that pervasive distribution of corporeal matter, Margolles charts the dissolution of the social, political and spatial borders that contain death from the public sphere. In discussing these works, I consider Margolles’ practice in relation to the social and aesthetic function of the morgue. Specifically, I consider how Margolles turns the morgue inside out, opening it upon the city in order to explore the inoperative distinctions between spaces of sociality and those of death. In turn, I consider how Margolles places viewers in uneasy proximity to mortality, bodily abjection and violence in order to illustrate the social, political and aesthetic conditions by which bodies become unidentifiable. I ultimately argue that her aesthetic strategies match her ethical aspirations to reconsider relations to death, violence and loss within the social realm.
139 6 Corpses of atonement: the discovery, commemoration and reinterment of eleven Alsatian victims of Nazi terror, 1947–52 Devlin M. Scofield The retreating of Nazi armies in 1944 corresponded to a final wave of brutality against the occupied populations of Europe.1 In France, the final maelstrom of destructive violence witnessed atrocities such as the indiscriminate slaughter of villagers in the French town of Oradour-sur-Glane alongside more focused incidents of arrests, deportations and executions.2 Thousands of families were left in agonising