Abstract Panel

Panel Details

Convenor Ms. Alexandra Staniewska Adam Mickiewicz University Poland
Co-convenor Prof. Elisabeth Anstett Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) France
Co-convenor Dr. Aleksandra Krupa Lawrynowicz University of Lodz Poland
Co-convenor Dr. Mikolaj Smykowski Adam Mickiewicz University Poland
Panel No : P051
Title : Historical, political, social and spatial margins of human rights violations: crime scenes and dead bodies under scrutiny
Sponsoring commission(s) :
Human Rights Commission
Short Abstract : We invite scholars working with human rights violations and mass violence to present their papers on how human remains and post-conflict landscapes can be marginalised. Our prime focus lies in historical, political, social and spatial marginalisations, but other contexts will also be appreciated. The panel is open to world-wide case studies and researchers of all disciplines.
Long Abstract :

Crime scenes, mass graves and human remains represent unique evidence of past wars, genocides, acts of violence and human rights violations. They are often deliberately hidden or destroyed by the perpetrators to conceal the crimes and create convenient historical narratives that legitimise power. As a result, dead human bodies, targeted based on ethnicity, class, religion and/or political affiliation, experience a series of exclusions, being physically, historically and socially marginalised, often under broader discriminatory politics of memory.

The places where the atrocious crimes took place are also marginalised. Concealed, guarded, and intentionally camouflaged by the perpetrators, they are often shrouded in social taboos, becoming restricted areas, contaminated landscapes and ‘haunted’ places which people avoid. In many cases, they were deliberately situated on the peripheries and in low-traffic areas, making them difficult to be found and even recognised as crime scenes over time (landscapes analysed during the “Archeology of the Pomeranian Crime 1939” project can serve as an example). Such dual marginalisation leads to the uncertain ontological status of such places, the perception and treatment of which also depends on the cultural context and the time after the sites are found. How these places are used and remembered (or not) is an important element of anthropological research and analysis, often involving social expectations about their future.

The study of memory, local stories, and the treatment and commemoration of crime scenes and human remains allow the identification of the significance of past violence in creating present local identities. The analysis of practices related to mass graves also enables an examination of the possible political use of human remains, and the types of necropolitics carried out. We invite scholars who deal with post-conflict landscapes and the post-mortem fate of human remains to present their research outcomes and considerations concerning the above-mentioned problems.