From the middle of the 18th century, the understanding and the attitude to death and the dead changed considerably. This was accompanied by changing perceptions of hygiene, new medical knowledge, a decreased mortality rate and new perspectives on mortality: a renewed interest in death and cadavers arose. The primary focus of this international interdisciplinary workshop will be the demand for corpses, their transfer, exhumation, and public display by (political and religious) institutions and communities. Phenomena often sparked celebrations, movements or social unrest, infusing religious and political meanings into dead bodies. Roman Catholicism between 1750 and 2000 serves as a paradigmatic context, due to the high number of requests for dead bodies of saints and beatified, the intense debate surrounding corpses, and controversies over death during culture wars.
The workshop will explore the claiming of bodies of religious orders members, the practices related to their appropriation, and their political and religious use. The aim is to significantly contribute to the cultural history of death and the material history of Catholicism in the modernity. A long-term perspective and a multidisciplinary approach make it possible to welcome papers that touch on this topic from other points of view as well:
- Mortuary practices and their evolution between 1750–2000
- Comparative perspectives on the request for dead bodies in different contexts
- Material Culture related to death from a global perspective
- Interactions between religious, political, and societal forces regarding dead bodies
Each proposal must consist of two parts: A. the abstract of the paper (max. 2,000 characters, spaces included) and B. the profile of the speaker (max 2000 characters, spaces included): CV, current position, and any publications on the topic. Please combine the two parts in a single Word or PDF file. Please submit your application by 31 October 2023 by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notifications about acceptance will be given by 14 November 2023. Publication of papers presented during the conference is foreseen after a process of peer review.