Focused on the material aspects of necro-politics, our panel studies technologies deployed at the frontier of death, revealing connections between pre- and post-mortem contexts, considering new forms of technologically mediated sovereignty, as well as challenges to these new forms of authority.
Technologies at the Frontiers of Death:
An increasing variety of technologies are deployed at the frontier where life transitions into death, and where the aftereffects of death are managed. Technologies are used to end life and produce death; to prolong life in the face of impending death; to memorialize those who have died; to bear witness to death; to scorn the dead; to know, discipline, or celebrate human bodies; to hide or disguise death; to facilitate grief and mourning; to refashion economies of death; to physically deal with dead human bodies. Drawing from recent work in science and technology studies, death studies, media and communications, material culture, political science, and philosophy, our panel brings into conversation diverse interests in the combined social, political, and, uniquely, material aspects of what Achille Mbembe has called "necro-politics." We here extend the study of necro-politics into the postmortem context, illuminating its connections with pre-mortem contexts, and considering new forms of technologically mediated sovereignty, as well as challenges to sovereign authority over the frontiers of death.