This book provides a critical overview of the changing ways people mourn, commemorate and interact with the remains of the dead, including bodies, materials and digital artefacts. It focuses on how residues of death persist and circulate through different spaces, materials, data and mediated memories, refiguring how the disposal of the dead is understood, enacted and contested across the globe. The volume contains contributions by scholars from a number of disciplines and includes a diverse range of case studies drawn from Asia, Europe and North America. Together they reveal how rapidly changing practices, industries and experiences around death’s remains involve the entwining of digital technologies with other material and ritualised forms of commemoration, as well as with shifting boundaries between the sacred and the profane, the institutional and the vernacular, the public and the private.
Table of Contents
1. Life in Death’s Residues
Elizabeth Hallam and Tamara Kohn
Part I: Animating Deathspaces
2. The Politics of a Threatened Space of the Dead: Challenges for (Re)Disposal in a Traditional Chinese Cemetery in Singapore
Connor Graham and Natalie Pang
3. "Adapt or Die": The Funeral Trade Show as a Site of Institutional Anxiety
Luke van Ryn, Bjorn Nansen and Martin Gibbs
4. "Who do you remember?": Religion, Facebook and Existential Media
Part II: Data Afterlife
5. Posthumous Performance and Digital Resurrection: From Science Fiction to Startups
6. The Decay of Digital Personhood: Towards New Norms of Disposal and Preservation
7. Digital Data Funerals
Part III: Material Afterlife
8. Managing the pious cadaver: Whole body donation and Anatomy in Sri Lanka
9. Embracing and Distancing the Materiality of Death through Cremation
10. Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust? The recovery and recycling of orthopaedic implants post-cremation
Part IV: Mediating Mourning
11. Death in Second Life: lost and missing lives
12. Memeifying the corpse: The photograph and the dead body between evidence and bereavement
13. Selfie Eulogies: The Posthumous Affect of the Camera Phone
Larissa Hjorth and Kathleen M. Cumiskey
Tamara Kohn is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social and Political Sciences, at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Martin Gibbs is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems and a member of the Interaction Design Lab (IDL) at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Bjorn Nansen is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Luke van Ryn has a PhD from the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, Australia.