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Regimes of value associated with the corpse in French nineteenth-century painting
Anaelle Lahaeye

There are many factors at work in the iconography of human remains. Some of those frequently discussed are aesthetic criteria, iconographic traditions and specific contingencies, whether political (for example in war paintings), symbolic (essential for transi images) or cultural. There is, however, one factor that is rarely mentioned, despite its centrality: the regime of value associated with corpses. Christ’s body is not painted in the same way as that of a departed relative or that used in a human dissection. Artists choose a suitable iconography depending on how the remains are perceived. This criterion became absolutely crucial in contexts such as nineteenth-century France, when attitudes to corpses underwent major changes.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
An interview with Vernelda Grant
Bridget Conley
and
Vernelda Grant

This edited transcript of conversations between an Apache cultural heritage professional, Vernelda Grant, and researcher Bridget Conley explores the knowledge that should guide the repatriation of human remains in the colonial context of repatriating Apache sacred, cultural and patrimonial items – including human remains – from museum collections in the United States. Grant provides a historical overview of the how Apache elders first grappled with this problem, following the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990) in the US Congress. She explains how and why community leaders made decisions about what items they would prioritise for repatriation. Central to her discussion is an Apache knowledge ecology grounded in recognition that the meaning of discrete items cannot be divorced from the larger religious and cultural context from which they come.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Burying the dead in times of pandemic
Diane O’Donoghue

Both historical and contemporary records of mass contagion provide occasions for visibility to persons who otherwise remain little recognised and even less studied: those who bury the dead. While global reports attest to self-advocacy among cemetery workers in the current COVID-19 pandemic, the psychological complexities of their labour go virtually unseen. Findings on the experiences of those doing such work reveal a striking contrast. While societal disavowal often renders their task as abject and forgettable, those who inter the remains frequently report affective connections to the dead that powerfully, and poignantly, undermine this erasure. Acknowledging such empathic relationality allows us to look at this profession in areas where it has never been considered, such as psychoanalytic work on ‘mentalisation’ or in contemporary ethics. The article concludes with an example from the accounts of those who have buried the dead in the massed graves on New York’s Hart Island.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Holocaust ashes in and beyond memorial sites and museums
Zuzanna Dziuban

This article focuses on ongoing contestations around burned human remains originating from the Holocaust, their changing meanings and dynamics, and their presence/absence in Holocaust-related debates, museums and memorial sites. It argues that ashes challenge but also expand the notion of what constitutes human remains, rendering them irreducible to merely bones and fleshed bodies, and proposes that incinerated remains need to be seen not as a ‘second rate’ corporeality of the dead but as a different one, equally important to engage with – analytically, ethically and politically. Challenging the perception of ashes as unable to carry traces of the personhood of the of the dead, and as not capable of yielding evidence, I posit that, regardless of their fragile corporality, incinerated human remains should be considered abjectual and evidential, as testifying to the violence from which they originated and to which they were subjected. Moreover, in this article I consider incinerated human remains through the prism of the notion of vulnerability, meant to convey their susceptibility to violence – violence through misuse, destruction, objectification, instrumentalisation and/or museum display. I argue that the consequences of the constantly negotiated status of ashes as a ‘second rate’ corporeality of human remains include their very presence in museum exhibitions – where they, as human remains, do not necessarily belong.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Telling stories of violence, suffering and death in museum exhibits
Steven Lubar

This article describes some of the techniques museums use to represent the suffering body in exhibitions. Some display human remains, but much more common, especially in Western museums, are stand-ins for the body. Manikins take many forms, including the wax museum’s hyperrealistic representations, the history museum’s neutral grey figures and the expressionistic figures that represent enslaved people in many recent exhibits. Symbolic objects or artefacts from the lives of victims can serve as counterweights to telling the story of their deaths. Photographs can show horror and the machinery of death, focus attention on individual lives or recreate communities. The absence of the body can call attention to its suffering. All of these techniques can be useful for museums trying to display and teach traumatic histories, but must be used with care and caution.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
In their presence: re-framing the scene of the dead body
Diane O’Donoghue
and
Bridget Conley
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
An ethnographic study of relays, connective strategies and regulated participation
Andrew Wilkins

England has long been a ‘laboratory’ for experimenting with structured incentives to compel, among other configurations, the organisation of schools as businesses. The focus of this chapter concerns a recent market-based experiment in education in England called the academies programme. The academies programme makes it possible for schools to operate outside their Local Education Authorities (LEAs) as private enterprises or ‘state-funded independent schools’ with significant responsibility for management and accountability delegated to school leaders and governors. From this perspective, the academies programme is a continuation of the idea of ‘co-steering’ or ‘co-governance’ inasmuch as academy status removes the requirement for the administration of ‘needs’ through the bureaucratic centralism of LEAs and instead empowers schools to consensually work with stakeholders to produce flexible, responsive models of service delivery. Yet, as this chapter shows, school autonomy among academies is conditional on the attraction of suitably skilled school leaders and governors who can effectively deploy prescriptions and solutions for ‘effective governance’, which includes conditioning certain people to stay out of governance. In some cases, academy structures resemble the same techno-bureaucratic settlements they were meant to replace and improve, namely LEAs, albeit lacking the mandate or incentives to provide strong democratic accountability based on principles of citizen participation and community voice (Wilkins, 2016, 2019a). The suggestion here is that the academies programme has become a target of political control from the centre and business saturation despite claims that academy status works to depoliticise and deregulate schools.

in Inside the English education lab
Coercion, contestation and localised struggles
Christy Kulz
,
Kirsty Morrin
, and
Ruth McGinity

This concluding chapter charts how the goal of total system academisation remains the Conservative government’s goal in the face of scant party-political opposition; however, grassroots opposition to these social and cultural interventions continues. The chapter explores how the privatisation of education structures and the narrowing of democratic participation ties to authoritarianism by reflecting on ethnographic exchanges at the Academies Show. It continues by examining the relationship between academisation and the increasing institution of detailed, rigid uniforms and punitive behaviour policies including isolation booth and practices of off-rolling and exclusion. The chapter concludes by analysing the connection between nationalism, racialisation and authoritarian educational forms through recent and well-publicised staff and student protests at Pimlico Academy in London that critically interrogate the norms promoted through these structures.

in Inside the English education lab
Critical ethnography, entrepreneurship education and inequalities
Kirsty Morrin

This chapter draws on research in Milltown Community Academy, a Northern secondary school that houses an ‘entrepreneurship specialism’. Overall, the chapter makes two contributions; firstly, it presents data that evidences retrenched inequality at Milltown Academy, and secondly it makes a methodological case for critical ethnography. Empirically, the chapter examines Milltown Academy’s entrepreneurial agenda in practice. In the academy ‘entrepreneurship education’ is formally embedded in the school’s ethos and curriculum. It is also realised through a ‘real-world’ initiative that allows local and student start-up businesses to operate from within the school building. Throughout, the chapter highlights processes by which ‘race’ and class inequalities are (re)produced in and through these entrepreneurship education practices. Methodologically, data in the chapter are drawn from critical ethnographic research collected at the institution over a year-long period. Bringing together methods and theory, the chapter draws on critical traditions in theories of sociology and education that centre inequality and ‘contradiction’. Specifically, the chapter devises and operationalises a series of ‘contradictions’ it names as ‘keyoxymorons’ to think, research and write through complex, and simultaneous struggles with inequality in the academy school and beyond. For example, the keyoxymoron ‘successful-failure’ is deployed to explore and unpack socio-historic discourses of ‘success’ attached to the academy, while simultaneously illustrating how some of these narratives of ‘success’ work to encompass, distort and ignore ‘failure’.

in Inside the English education lab
Clara R. Jørgensen
and
Julie Allan

Inclusion has been a key concern for researchers exploring the impact of free schools in England since their introduction in 2010. However, discussions of inclusion have mostly centred on structural issues of social justice and equality, more specifically whether free schools are located in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, whether schools operate fair and inclusive admission policies, and whether parents and children of disadvantaged backgrounds are equally able to access the schools. Not much has been written about what actually happens at the schools in terms of more micro-level day-to-day practices and interactions. This chapter reports on a project carried out at a secondary free school in 2016–2018, using qualitative and ethnographic methods to examine the views and experiences of teachers, school staff, parents and children, particularly in relation to inclusion and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). With reference to social capital theory, the chapter discusses the extent to which the school was able to use its free school status and particular ‘freedoms’ to foster inclusive practice and strategies. The chapter critically considers the free school programme in relation to the inclusion of SEND students, but also explores the possibility that mainstream schools may draw on experiences developed within free schools to strengthen inclusive practices and strategies. The chapter furthermore outlines the main challenges experienced by staff in developing an inclusive school and reflects on some of the difficulties of fostering inclusion within an increasingly competitive and performance based educational system.

in Inside the English education lab