This panel examines the diverse ways in which individuals and communities grieve for and remember the dead in the wake of a disaster as well as the importance of memorialization for the conceptions of both, the disaster itself and the subsequent process of recovery.
Trauma caused by sudden and violent mass death is almost immediately followed by public expressions of mourning for lives lost and compassion for shattered communities. Rituals, objects and sites of memorialization are imbued with complex symbolic meanings and have a variety of psychological, social and political functions: communal acts of remembrance may act as vehicles of personal catharsis, religious rituals of pacifying the dead may be inscribed with political strife, and disagreements over memorial monuments may serve to negotiate communal future. This panel examines the diverse ways in which individuals and communities grieve for and memorialize the dead as well as their importance for the experience by survivors of both, the disaster itself and the subsequent process of recovery. We invite papers that address these issues from ethnographic or theoretical perspectives. We particularly welcome studies from more recent events, such as the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster, 2008 Sichuan earthquake, 2004 Asian tsunami and others.