Corpses and Destruction / Les cadavres et leur destruction

1st Annual & International Workshop of the Research Programme Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide
EHESS, 105 bd. Raspail, 75006 Paris
12th-14th September 2012

  • Research programme financed by a Grant of the European Research Council
This workshop addresses the first phase of the research programme « Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide ». In the context of mass violence and genocide, death is not the end of the executors’ work. After the abuses, the victims’ corpses are treated and manipulated in very specific ways, amounting in some cases to true social engineering; the phase is remarkably little documented in the existing research. This conference aims therefore to explore this phase of destruction, across a range of extreme situations including mass cremations, concealment, profanation, displacement or re-burials. Focused on the 20th century, the conference will seek to re-evaluate the motivations, the ideological frameworks and the technical processes at work in the destruction of corpses, taking a comparative and instrumental perspective which should open to new research in mass violence and genocide studies.


12th September 2012

14:00 - 15:30

  • Introduction: Elisabeth Anstett (CNRS, France) & Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester, GB)
  • Key note speech: Yehonathan Alsheh (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

16:00-17:30 Ideologies

  • Chair: Joost Fontein (University of Edimburg, GB)
  • Remi Korman (EHESS, France)
  • Michael Mc Connel (University of Tenessee, USA)

13th September 2012

9:00-10:30 Criminology of Mass Violence

  • Chair: Caroline Fournet (Gröningen University, Netherland)
  • Jon Shute (University of Manchester, GB)
  • Kjell Anderson (NUI Galway, Irland)

11:00-12:30 Secondary Mass Grave

  • Chair: Michel Spignoli (CNRS - Aix Marseille Université, France)
  • José Lopez Mazz (Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay)
  • Sari Wastell (Goldsmith College, GB) & Admir Jugo (International Commission for Missing Persons, Bosnie)

14:00-15:30 Mass Cremation

  • Chair: Robert Van Pelt (University of Waterloo, Canada)
  • Elena Zhemkova (Memorial, Russia)
  • Elissa Mailänder (Sciences Po Paris, France)


  • Projection of «Las Manos en la Tierra», 52’ documentary film (2010) by Virginia
    Martínez devoted to the role of the forensic anthropologists in Uruguay in the
    search for the desaparecidos of military dictatorship (1973-85). Projection
    followed by a round table with José Lopez-Mazz (Universidad de Mondevideo,
    Uruguay), Michel Signoli (CNRS, France), Sévane Garibian (Université de Genève,
    Suisse), Elisabeth Anstett (CNRS, France) and Francisco Etxeberria (Universidad
    del País Vasco, Spain - to be confirmed).

14th September 2012

9:00-10:30 Governing the Dead

  • Chair: Finn Stepputat (DIIS, Danemark)
  • Chowra Makaremi (CNRS, France)
  • Max Bergholz (University of Concordia, Canada)

11:00-12:30 Disposal

  • Chair: Marcia Esparza  (John Jay College of Criminal Justice - CUNY, USA)
  • Therkel Straede (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
  • Nicky Rousseau (Univerity of the Western Cape, South Africa)

14:00-16:00 Concealment

  • Chair: Sévane Garibian (Université de Genève, Suisse)
  • Mario Ranalletti (UNTREF, Argentina)
  • Raymond Kevorkian (UP8-Saint Denis, France)
  • Adrian Cioflanca (Romanian Academy, Romania)

16:00-17:30 Conclusion

  • Robert Jan Van Pelt (University of Waterloo, Canada)


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