The Materiality of Mourning: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Materiality of Mourning

Cross-disciplinary Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Zahra Newby, Ruth Toulson


266 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780815356639
pub: 2018-08-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351127660
pub: 2018-07-17
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


Tangible remains play an important role in our relationships with the dead; they are pivotal to how we remember, mourn and grieve. The chapters in this volume analyse a diverse range of objects and their role in the processes of grief and mourning, with contributions by scholars in anthropology, history, fashion, thanatology, religious studies, archaeology, classics, sociology, and political science. The book brings together consideration of emotions, memory and material agency to inform a deeper understanding of the specific roles played by objects in funerary contexts across historical and contemporary societies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Emotions and Materiality in Theory and Method Ruth E. Toulson and Zahra Newby

Part I: The Afterlife of Possessions

2. Dead People’s Clothes: Materialising Mourning and Memory in Ancient Rome Valerie M. Hope

3. Remembering Roland Leighton: Uniforms as the Materials of Memory in World War I Emily Brayshaw

4. Destroying Objects, Keeping Memories Eric Venbrux

Part II: Representational Objects

5. The Grottarossa Doll and her Mistress: Hope and Consolation in a Roman Tomb Zahra Newby

6. Talking with a Cold Grey Stone: The Life and Death of Gravestones in Contemporary Denmark Anne Kjærsgaard

7. The Face of the Deceased: Portrait Busts in Roman Tombs Helen I. Ackers

8. Enduring Grief: Images of Mourning from the Ancient Classical World to Eighteenth-Century Britain Kate A. Beats

Part III: The Body as Material for Mourning

9. The ‘Worth’ of Grief and the ‘Value’ of Bodies: Managing the Civilian Corpse in Second World War Britain Lucy Noakes

10. Fragments of Bone and Chips of Stone: Materiality and Mourning in a Chinese Society Ruth E. Toulson

11. Sacred Rituals of the Security State: Reclaiming Bodies and Making Relics from Ground Zero Charlotte Heath-Kelly

12. Why Materiality in Mourning Matters Michael Brennan


13. The Death Turn: Interdisciplinarity, Mourning and Material Culture Douglas J. Davies

About the Editors

Zahra Newby is Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. Her research interests lie in the field of Roman art, and she has published numerous papers on Roman funerary art, as well as on ancient athletics, art and tet, and the uses of myth in Roman art.

Ruth E. Toulson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, with research interests, thematically, in death, the emotions, and material culture, and, geographically, in Southeast Asia and Mainland China.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General