Accepted paper:

The bioanimacy of the corpse

Authors:

Beth Conklin (Vanderbilt University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how cultures in Amazonia, Asia, and elsewhere orient mourners' subjective experiences through mortuary rituals structured around close encounters with corpses and visceral, sensory evidence of death.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores how cultures in Amazonia, Asia, and elsewhere orient mourners' subjective experiences through mortuary rituals structured around close encounters with the corpse and visceral evidences of death. The tangible realities of biological bodies touched, smelled, and tasted as they are transformed through decay and decomposition are fertile material deployed in tandem with symbolic systems that work on multiple levels of psychological, social, and bodily experience. Anthropology's tendency to treat the ritual management of death as an intellectual and psychological process misses powerful, sensory dimensions that are central to experiences of the living, suggesting avenues to rethink death rites including cannibalism, cremation, secondary burial.

panel P16
The 'evidence' of death: necrographic accounts on death perspectives