ELCS6038 - Glorious and Infamous Dead: The Political Lives of Dead Bodies
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Eleanor Chiari
Teaching structure: Each week will concentrate on one particular dead body (or group of bodies) to introduce a broader discussion of historical and cultural debates affecting a range of European countries (e.g. the unknown soldier of WWI, to introduce ideas of nationalism and public commemorations; Hitler, to discuss conspiracy theories and the cult of personality; Jan Palach, to discuss the 1968 student movements; Aldo Moro, to discuss Italian and German terrorism of the 1970s etc).
Assessment: 3 hour desk examination.
From political assassinations, to war, to terrorism, public responses to death and the struggles over the ‘political lives of dead bodies’ can present a unique angle from which to consider the political, cultural and intellectual history of Europe since 1915. By considering films, photographs, newspaper accounts, literature and memorial culture around particular dead bodies students will be given an introduction to some of the broader cultural themes and historical debates linking and dividing European nations in the twentieth century. Students will be encouraged to bring their own national contexts and interests to bear in class discussions and will be expected to give presentations.
By the end of the module students
will have acquired a broad understanding of some of the greater cultural
and historical events shaping European national identities and will be
able to discuss cultural memory from a variety of disciplines and
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- Katherine Verdery, 'The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Postsocialist Change' (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999)
- Luc Capdevila and Daniele Voldman, 'War Dead: Western Societies and the Casualties of War' (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006)
- Stephen Gundle and Lucia Rinaldi (eds.), 'Assassinations and Murder in Modern Italy, Transformations in Society and Culture' (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007)
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Lisa Maya Knauer and Daniel Walkowiz, 'Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Space' (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004)
- Sergio Luzzatto, 'The Body of Il Duce: Mussolini’s Corpse and the Fortunes of Italy' (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998)
- Alessandro Portelli, 'The Order Has Been Carried Out: History, Memory, and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome' (Basingstoke: Palgrave Studies in Oral History, 2003)