Author: Craig Young

Next ESRC ‘Encountering Corpses’ seminar announced: ‘Dreams and Death Worlds’, Durham, 7th April 2017.

The next in the ESRC ‘Encountering Corpses’ seminar series will be held on the topic of ‘Dreams and Death Worlds’ on 7th April 2017 at Birley Room, Hatfield College, Durham University, UK. The programme is posted below.

Places at the seminar are free but are limited. If you wish to attend please send an email to Professor Craig Young at stating your name and institution and status (eg. Professor, PhD student etc) and noting any dietary requirements.



09.30-09.40     Welcome – Douglas Davies, Department of Theology & Religion and Centre for Death-Life Studies, Durham University.

09.40-09.50     The ESRC ‘Encountering Corpses’ Research Seminar Series – Craig Young, Manchester Metropolitan University.

09.50-10.30     Dreaming of Death in Antiquity – George Gazis, Department of Classics, Durham University.

10.30-11.10     Encountering the Corpse of St Cuthbert – Seven moments across two millennia – David Williams, author of St Cuthbert’s Corpse – A Life After Death (under the penname David Willem).

 Coffee break

11.30-12.10     Death and territoriality: the ‘possible worlds’ of native Australian cultures and their ecological imperatives – Bob Layton, Department of Anthropology, Durham University.

12.10-12.50     Dreams, Death and Martyrs in Islam – Iain Edgar, Department of Anthropology, Durham University.


13.45-14.30     Joseph Smith’s visions of the dead and Mormonism’s Baptism for the dead – Douglas Davies, Department of Theology & Religion and Centre for Death-Life Studies, Durham University.

14.30-15.00     Open forum, questions and discussion.

15.00                   Close.



Death, Dying and Disposal 13. Ritual, Religion and Magic. Call for papers.

*Death, Dying and Disposal 13*. Ritual, Religion and Magic. Call for papers.

6th-10th September 2017, University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

In popular western culture the number 13 is often unlucky, evoking
superstition, or witches. Yet, there were 13 members of the last supper,
Friday the 13 is lucky in Italy and in Judaism it is the age for rites of
passage. The theme for this DDD is Ritual, Religion and Magic its
perception interpretation and role in healthcare, death, dying, and burial.
Individual papers might include, but are not restricted to: death
technology and magic, liminality, religion and spirituality in end of life
care, ethics and culture at the deathbed, dying inside (and outside) of
modern health care, spirituality and the death of animals, rites of passage
in dying, superstition and funerals, ritual application in preparing the
corpse and burying the dead. Emergent religious and cultural practices in
the disposal of the dead, ancestors online, Death, dying and grief in
public and on the internet. Talking with the dead, the dead in popular
horror, the dead in witchcraft execution or haunting or social rituals
associated with the dead body, spirituality or lifeways and deathways.

Please email titles and abstracts to Conference and Events by February 28th 2017.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.

Contact or Elizabeth J Roberts for
enquiries. Tweet #DDD13 to start a trend, @DuncanSayer.

Next ESRC ‘Encountering Corpses’ seminar announced: “‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy” – details

We are delighted to announce that the next of our ESRC-sponsored Research Seminars is now available.

It is on the theme of “‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy”, organised by Dr Philip Stone (University of Central Lancashire, UK) and will be held at Lancaster Castle/HM Lancaster Prison (

10.30am start on Wednesday 19th October 2016.

Please register if you wish to attend. Limited tickets are available at:

The programme and paper abstracts can also be viewed on the above link.

Here is the overview of what promises to be a fascinating day:

“This multi-disciplinary symposium, convened by Dr Philip Stone, invites speakers from the UK and USA to examine fundamental relationships of dark tourism – that is, travel to sites of death, disaster, or the seemingly macabre – with the cultural condition of contemporary society. Particularly, the symposium will critically explore how death and the dead are ‘packaged up’ or commodified for the contemporary global visitor economy, and the implications and consequences thereof.

The symposium is aimed at academics and teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, tourism and heritage industry professionals, museum curators, local government, as well as interested media.”

ESRC Seminar ‘The corpse, the dead body and technology’, 27th May 2016

The next seminar in the ESRC funded Research Seminar Series will be held at the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath on 27th May 2016, focusing on ‘The corpse, the dead body and technology’. Should be another stimulating day!

Limited tickets are available via Eventbrite here:



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.

‘Encountering Corpses II’ 2016 now announced and tickets available!

I am delighted to be able to announce that we have finalised the programme for the next Encountering Corpses day symposia on Saturday 19th March 2016.

This event, open to all, will discuss the dead body in relation to the mobilities and economies of their parts. Our first panel will discuss organ donation, organ trafficking and how medical students interact with donated corpses. Our plenary will advocate for public access to human remains for education and emotional edification. Finally, we will address encounters with corpses in terms of cultural and subcultural practices: the dead bodies on Everest and how these relate to the culture of mountaineering, the concentration in contemporary media on the physicality of the celebrity dead body in the immediate minutes, hours and days after death, and the historical and contemporary practices around the preservation of tattooed human skin.

Book your £15 ticket for the event which will be held at Manchester Crematorium (constructed 1892)

Book your £15 ticket for the event which will be held at Manchester Crematorium (constructed 1892)

Also incorporated in the day will be tours of the Manchester Crematorium ‘back office’ facilities, and a visit to the Greater Manchester Police social centre for lunch.

Further details and a full draft schedule can be found here on the blog and over on Eventbrite where you can book your £15 ticket.

Based on the demand for the 2014 event we would expect this to sell out fairly rapidly!

CFP: Corpses, Cadavers and Catalogues: The Mobilities of Dead Bodies and Body Parts, Past and Present

CFP: Deadline 15th Jan 2016

CFP: Corpses, Cadavers and Catalogues: The Mobilities of Dead Bodies and Body Parts, Past and Present

May 17th-18th May 2016

Venue: Barts Pathology Museum and the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London

Organisers: Kristin Hussey (QMUL) and Sarah Morton (Keble College, Oxford)

Advisory Panel: Dr. Tim Brown (QMUL) and Dr. Beth Greenhough (Keble College, Oxford)

Deadline for Abstracts: January 15th, 2016

An interest in the dead body, and particularly its shifting meanings, mobility and agency can be seen in recent works of museology, geography and history of medicine (Hallam, 2007; Maddrell and Sidaway, 2010; Alberti, 2011; Young and Light, 2013). The biographies of human remains held by museums have been an area of considerable interest for medical museums dealing with their Victorian inheritance. The process by which pathological specimens or samples transform from intimate relics of life to scientific data has been explored by social historians of medicine, anthropologists and archaeologists (Boston et al., 2008; Fontein et al., 2010; Withycombe, 2015). There remains, however, little discussion across these disciplines as well as need to further explore the movement of the dead body, both in the past and present, in order to consider broader questions of power, imperialism and globalisation.

From the repatriation of contentious human remains to the controversial and fascinating body-world exhibits, dead body parts circulate in multiple ways through museum spaces past and present. This two-day interdisciplinary conference will bring together museum professionals and academics to foster a productive dialogue on the movement of the dead body and the social, ethical and political challenges it presents. In contrast to the breadth of current research on the movement of the living, the subject of the dead body will be used to bridge the divide between the work of museum professionals and academics to promote the museum as a site for research, and develop new connections and networks.

Through this conference, we hope to use the dead body as a starting point for opening up wider debates on embodied knowledge, materiality and meaning-making, the role of the body in structures of inequality, and the challenges of colonial remains in a postcolonial world. We hope these two days will bring together diverse speakers from across disciplines to consider how bodies and body parts have informed their research and professional practice. We welcome papers from PhD students, early career researchers and heritage professionals, as well as works in progress.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

* Meanings of different body parts in historical and temporal contexts

* The curation, display, and provenance of medical museum specimens

* The materialities of colonialism and politics of repatriation

* Human remains and the practice of medical history

* Provenance and interpretation of morbid and pathological specimens

* Corpse geographies, body biographies and the creation of embodied knowledge

* Ethics of human remains research and display

To submit a paper proposal, please send an email with a 250-word abstract and a short (100 word) biography to by January 15th 2016. Successful applicants will be contacted by early February 2015 and be expected to register by 1 March 2016 for the conference held 17-18 May.

For further information or informal questions about possible topics, please contact the conference organisers via :

Corpses, Cadavers and Catalogues is a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, Barts Pathology Museum, and is funded by the Wellcome Trust Small Grants programme.

‘Marginal death research: doing edgework’ event

Very interesting event at University of York, UK next week 2nd December 2015:


There is a sustained western cultural fascination with death, dying, dead bodies and wounds that includes, but is not limited to film, television, artwork, music and literature making death one of the most fertile areas to conduct research. Yet, despite this prevalence of morbidity and death representation within everyday culture it remains overshadowed by the broader death studies research framework that focuses on policy and law – the practicalities of dealing with death, the dying and the dead. Through the topic of death, this symposium seeks to bring together research which is conducted across a range of disciplines but which is often swept to the edges of death studies due to its cultural nature. It seeks to provide a platform for researchers to present and discuss their death edgework conducted in social science, the arts and humanities and contribute to the growing network of researchers engaging with death in unconventional ways.

09:30 – 17:30 Wednesday 2nd December 2015 – The Lakehouse, Heslington East Campus, University of York.