Corpses, Technologies, and Cultures
Organizers: Philip Olson
Dead human bodies occupy physical and cultural spaces in which a wide variety of actors and interests intersect—sometimes cooperatively, sometimes contentiously. These include medical and funeral professionals, manufacturers, marketers, engineers, lawmakers, regulators, religious leaders and devotees, social reformers, funeral consumers, etc. Concern for the handling, preparation, disposition, and memorialization of mortal remains is something that all human cultures share. But specific beliefs, attitudes, and practices related to care of dead bodies vary widely across regional, national, and cultural borders. In many parts of the world, funerary practices are facilitated and mediated by technologies ranging from refrigeration systems and transportation technologies to embalming and cremation technologies; from internet and communication technologies to alkaline hydrolysis, cryogenics, and even rocket ships. This panel invites submissions having to do with the ways in which technological innovations interact with the personal, social, spiritual, material, commercial, and scientific dimensions of funerary practices within various cultural contexts. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:
1. The roles of disposition technologies in the organization of funeral work
2. The status and function of experts and expertise within funerary contexts
3. Relationships between science and religion within various funeral customs
4. Roles of digital media in funeral rites and rituals, and in memorialization practices
5. Government policies regarding the disposition of human remains and the regulation of funeral work
6. Environmental assessments of disposition practices (e.g., embalming, cremation, alkaline hydrolysis, sky burial)
7. The expression and formation of personal and cultural identities through funerary techno-practices
8. Relationships between innovation and tradition in funerary contexts
9. Race, class, and gender politics related to funeral technologies, funeral professions, and dead bodies
10. Relationships between mortuary science and medical science
Please submit papers to email@example.com for consideration for inclusion in this panel.
From 4S site:
Final submission online March 3, 2014.
Submission abstracts should be up to 250 words. Paper titles should not exceed 10 words.
To apply, submit an “individual abstract” via the 4S portal at http://convention2.allacademic.com/one/ssss/4s14/
Once you have a user name and password, go to submit proposal > submit new proposal > paper abstract. After entering your details, check the box beside Open Session #59: Corpses, Technologies, and Cultures
More information: http://www.4sonline.org/meeting