MRes Criminology (Social Statistics) / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
- View tabs
- View full page
Course unit details:
Necrocriminology: Human Remains and Mass Violence.
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Across the globe, and in particular the developed West, moving cemeteries and memorials attest
to the military dead of numerous inter-state conflicts. What is rather less-well commemorated
globally is the millions of civilian victims of political violence, civil war and atrocity crime (genocide,
crimes against humanity, and war crime). Why is this? What happens to the bodies of victims of
mass violence, and why? Describing the findings of a major ERC programme 'Corpses of Mass
Violence & Genocide', this unit follows the 'journey' of the body from destruction to recovery to
commemoration. It examines the social significance and the social uses of human remains, and
argues that they have a unique role in both personal and collective recovery from a legacy of mass
violence. In doing so, we expand the frontiers of both 'peacetime' criminology and victimology.
The course aims to (i) examine the ways in which diverse societies do and do not come to
terms with a legacy of mass violence through their relationship with the dead; (ii) chart the journey
of the murdered corpse from production to investigation to commemoration; (iii) describe the new
sub-discipline of 'necrocriminology': the criminology of violent death, its dynamics, material
products and consequences; (iv) agitate for a new critical and reflexive criminological agenda that
contributes ultimately to the process of re-ascribing value to radically devalued lives
On completion of the unit, the student will be able to: (1) appreciate the scale and significance of the dead as a chief product of atrocity crime (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crime; non-legally defined contexts of mass violence); (2) appreciate the ideal-typical 'journey' of the corpse from destruction to concealment to investigation to commemoration; (3) appreciate the psychological, social, political, religious and other uses of the dead body (as 'boundary object') in diverse contexts of mass violence and their aftermath; (4) understand the promise and limitations of 'peacetime' criminological theory & method, and of orthodox victimological discourse.
1. (AC)COUNTING (FOR) THE DEAD: A SHORT HISTORY OF LETHAL MASS VIOLENCE
2. DEATH & ITS SIGNIFICANCE: THE ‘WORK’ OF THE DEAD
3. ARGENTINA: MODES OF DENYING AND ACKNOWLEDGING ABSENT BODIES
4. BOSNIA: BLOOD, BONES, AND BURIAL AS COUNTER-DISCOURSE.
5. SPAIN: GRAVES AND THE GENERATIONS AFTER DEFEAT
6. LATVIA: REPRESENTING COMPLEX ATROCITY IN A DIVIDED SOCIETY.
7. POLAND: HUMAN REMAINS, ETHICS AND INDUSTRY IN DEATH CAMP COMMEMORATION
8. THE CRIMINOLOGICAL LIVES OF DEAD BODIES: TOWARDS A NECROCRIMINOLOGY of MASS VIOLENCE
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching will involve (1) a workshop used for a range of discursive exercises; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.
3000 word written assignment (100%)
Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) developing essay plans. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the submitted essay via Blackboard (Grademark).
- The Manchester University Press journal Human Remains and Violence. Available at https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/journals/hrv/
- The edited book series from the ERC programme featured in the unit: https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/series/human-remains-and-violence/. There are five volumes, each on a theme (destruction, identification, commemoration, etc)
- Robben, A.C.G.M. (2018). A companion to the anthropology of death. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. An edited collection from the perspective of the discipline traditionally best placed to comment on the social meaning of death.
- Rosenblatt, A. (2015). Digging for the disappeared: forensic science after atrocity. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. An excellent, concise text charting the rise of this mode of engagement with the dead.
- Jones A (2016) Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge. This is an outstanding ‘general’ genocide studies text with a companion website at http://www.genocidetext.net/
- Rafter, N. (2016) The Crime of All Crimes: Towards a Criminology of Genocide. New York: NYU Press. The first serious book-length empirical comparative study in Criminology.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Practical classes & workshops||8|
|Jon Shute||Unit coordinator|