Month: February 2016

ESRC Research Seminar: Dead Body Politics, Materialities and Mobilities

Professor Craig Young continues his ESRC Research Seminar Series on contemporary encounters with corpses.

Mobilities etc.The fourth seminar in this series, Dead Body Politics, Materialities and Mobilities, has been organised by Professor Craig Young of Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University and Dr Jon Shute, lecturer in the school of Law at University of Manchester.

The seminar will explore multi-disciplinary approaches to the dead body. Professor Young said: “The seminar will capture a range of responses to dead and associated material remains – by law academics, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, geographers and artists”.

Young is interested in the intersection of place, landscape, history and memory and the politics of identity with regards to the dead body. A focus on corpses originally arose from Craig’s study of the mobilities of the dead bodies of Romanian Communist leaders and activists during state-socialism and post-socialism. He is interested in how the dead body is a subject of ‘dead body politics’ but also has agency in its own right.

Professor Young said: “This seminar in the ESRC Encountering Corpses research seminar series will focus on the politics of corpse (im-)mobilities and materialities. Dead bodies are usually thought of as ‘dead and buried’, static and immobile and removed from life, but this seminar will foreground how human remains persist and can provoke new formations of identity and politics”.

He explained: “How human remains move around (eg. are repatriated or exhumed and re-interred) and their materialities (what form they take, what remains and how it is viewed and regulated) can be central to processes of forming identity and politics. Understanding these processes can inform our understanding of genocide, the Holocaust and justice for the dead but also in seemingly more mundane spaces such as museums”.

Professor Young’s work has captured the public’s imagination, and his many public engagement events attract a high turn-out every year. Professor Young and Dr Shute’s shared aim is to make the physicality of the dead body something neither lost nor forgotten within public discourse, which focuses on the live body as a site of power and identity but largely ignores similar considerations after death.

They said: “We hope the audience will take away a renewed appreciation of the role the dead can play in the contested politics of repatriation, reconciliation, the post-colonial, museum curation and artistic representations.”


The series will continue into 2017. Details of future seminars can be found here.

Dead Body Politics, Materialities and Mobilities will take place on 18th March 2016, 1.00pm – 4.30pm at 70 Oxford Street. Tickets are free and available here:

The seminar will be followed by a free film screening of ‘Earth Promised Sky’ (2003) at 6pm. Tickets are free and available here:


ESRC Seminar 4: Dead Body Politics, Materialities and Mobilities

ESRC Research Seminar Series: On encountering corpses: political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of contemporary encounters with dead bodies

esrcSeminar 4: Dead Body Politics, Materialities and Mobilities

When: 18th March 2016, 1.00pm – 4.30pm

Location: Room no. LB.02, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester (beside Manchester Oxford Road rail
way station).

Tickets: Free – available here:

Organised by Professor Craig Young (School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr Jon Shute (School of Law, University of Manchester)


Mobilities etc.Schedule:


  • Project partners, invited speakers and audience
  • Seminar: Dead body politics, materialities and mobilities- Room LB.02


  • Professor Craig Young (Human Geography, MMU) and Dr Jon Shute (Law, UoM)
  • Introduction: Dead body politics, materialities and mobilities


  • Dr Jon Shute (Law, UoM)
  • Journeys in Space and Time: Human Remains and the Srebrenica Massacres


  • Dr Jean-Marc Dreyfus (History, UoM)
  • Forgotten exhumations: the French mission in search of corpses from deportees in Germany, 1946-58


  • Coffee break


  • Dr John Harries (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh)
  • Repatriating Beothuk skulls and the affective politics of indigeneity


  • Dr Gemma Angel (Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London)
  • Mortal Remains: Confronting the Dead in the Medical Museum


  • Dave Griffiths (Manchester School of Art, MMU), Michael Branthwaite (School of Art and Design, Staffordshire University) and Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls (Archaeology, Staffs.)
  • Finding Treblinka: artistic responses to forensic evidence


  • Concluding remarks and close

Followed by an evening film event at No. 70 – a free screening of ‘Earth Promised Sky’ (2003). Tickets are free and available here: 

Screening of ‘Earth Promised Sky’

A public screening of the documentary ‘Earth Promised Sky’, directed by Sabina Subasic (2003)

When: Friday 18th March 2016, 6.00pm – 7.30pm

Where: 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH

Tickets: Free – available here:

earth promised sky 2This documentary focuses on the exhumation of mass graves and the identification of remains from the Bosnian War (1992-95) for the Bosnian Commission for Missing Persons.

Introduced by Professor Craig Young (Human Geography, MMU) and followed by an update and discussion with Dr Jon Shute (Law, University of Manchester).

Dr Jon Shute is Lecturer in Law at the University of Manchester. He has enduring research interests in human development, family stress, and most recently, the criminology of mass violence. He is a Co-Investigator on the ERC-funded programme ‘Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide’, and a member of the ESC’s Atrocity Crime & Transitional Justice Working Group.


esrcThis event is part of the ESRC Research Seminar Series: On encountering corpses: political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of contemporary encounters with dead bodies.

PhD opportunity ‘Where is death in “Dark Tourism”‘

Please note a competitive PhD opportunity is being advertised at Manchester Metropolitan University on the topic of:

Where is death in ‘Dark Tourism’? Exploring tourists’ relationships with mortality at sites of death and disaster

Further details of the project and how to apply can be found via the link below.

Deadline is 21st March 2016.


SEVENTEENTH COLLOQUIUM ON CEMETERIES University of York, United Kingdom, Friday 20th May, 2016


University of York, United Kingdom, Friday 20th May, 2016

This event takes place in York every year and comprises a day meeting of scholars with an interest in cemeteries and burial. The event is open to all disciplines, and past papers have represented research by historians, art historians, sociologists, anthropologists, historical archaeologists, landscape designers and architects, conservators and policy analysts. The Colloquium often draws international speakers. A key aspect of the Colloquium is its informality: a focus on debate makes this a highly valuable forum in which to present new and emerging research.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Please ensure that the abstract is in Word format. Any queries about the event should in the first instance be directed by email to the address given.

Note that this year two postgraduate bursaries will be available to cover the cost of the conference fee only. Please send a letter of application to

The deadline for abstracts is 18th April 2016, although earlier confirmation may be available for international visitors.