Death at the Margins of the State


CDAS Conference 2017:
Death at the Margins of the State

09-10 June 2017

The Edge, University of Bath


Human beings typically grant appropriate death rites to those deemed members of the community; withholding of proper rites often reflects or symbolises exclusion from the political or moral community. The history of dissection, for example, bears witness to this.


Today, the concept of ‘human’ extends in theory to everyone regardless of nationality, gender, abilities, etc., yet in practice citizenship (legal or moral) may for many be precarious or lacking. The stateless and/or those lacking full citizen rights may include asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, those on the wrong side in civil wars, victims of genocide, prisoners, travellers, foetuses, and those deemed to lack mental capacity: their deaths may be endorsed, ignored, stigmatised, or manipulated by the state or powerful institutions. By contrast, those who die to create or defend the state become sacred heroes of the nation. Death and the state are intimately connected, each helping – through inclusion and exclusion – to define the other.

  • What deaths and whose deaths are denied respect?
  • How, why, and with what consequences for defining ‘us and them’, ‘human and non-human’?
  • How do those without citizenship die and how are they disposed of and mourned?
  • How do funerals mark lives deemed worthless?
  • How are marginalised deaths and the bodies of the marginalised dead exploited – by politicians, media, medicine, museums, and the global trade in body parts and ancient human remains?

Abstracts are invited for contemporary or historical papers from any discipline or profession exploring the relationship between death and exclusion from community or state. The conference will interest those in a wide range of fields, including, for example, death studies, politics, anthropology, history, archaeology, international relations, international development, refugee & migration studies, social policy, photography, cultural studies, psychology and funeral celebrancy.

CDAS annual conferences bring together research and knowledge that has hitherto been fragmented. We invite scholars and practitioners from around the world willing to engage openly with and learn from different disciplines and perspectives.

20 minute papers are invited – abstracts (up to 250 words) to be emailed to by 27 February 2017. Posters are also welcome, please send your abstract as above.


Further details about the conference and how to book will be made available in the New Year. Prices are likely to be £135 for 2 days and £75 for a single day, but this is subject to confirmation.


Conference updates will appear on the webpage:

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