The reasons for multigenerational housing are diverse: the prohibitive cost of senior care, unemployed family members, young adults in debt and hoping to save money. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014, a record 60.6 million people, or 19 percent of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof. Refer to Kavita Daswani, “Multigenerational Homes for Modern Families,” Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hp-multigenerational-homes-20160604-snap-story.html (accessed February 10, 2018); Janet Morrissey, “Multigenerational Homes That Fit Just Right,” April 8, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/09/your-money/multigenerational-homes-that-fit-just-right.html (accessed February 10, 2018).
“Five Core Values of TimeBanking,” https://timebanks.org/ (accessed February 10, 2018).
Jeff Anderson, “How Time-Banks Promote the Dignity of Seniors,” June 14, 2013, https://www.assistedliving.com/time-banks-for-seniors/ (accessed February 10, 2018); Ed Collom, “Engagement of the Elderly in Time Banking: The Potential for Social Capital Generation in an Aging Society,” Journal of Aging and Social Policy 20, no. 4 (2008): 414–36.
Eric TC, “Combining Elderly Care Centers with Preschools: An Idea for Timebanks,” July 13, 2015, https://timebanks.org/combining-elderly-care-centers-with-preschools-an-idea-for-timebanks/ (accessed February 10, 2018).
“A Time-Banking Scheme Aims to Overcome Britain’s Crisis in Care for the Elderly,” Economist, December 17, 2016, https://www.economist.com/news/britain/21711844-young-people-who-volunteer-now-could-bank-hours-credit-be-redeemed-kind-their-own (accessed February 10, 2018).
One of the authors was involved in a project of this kind in Cleveland, Ohio, during college in the 1990s.
Generations United, “Shared Sites,” https://www.gu.org/what-we-do/public-policy/shared-sites/ (accessed April 30, 2019).
Emily DeRuiter, “Adopt-a-Grandparent Is a Co-learning Experience,” Central Michigan Life, March 31, 2015, http://www.cm-life.com/article/2015/03/adopt-a-grandparent (accessed February 10, 2018); Ann Brenoff, “Adopt-a-Grandparent Programs Reap Awesome Benefits for Both Sides,” Huffington Post, April 7, 2015, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/07/adopt-a-grandparent-awesome-benefits_n_7012274.html (accessed February 10, 2018).
Heather Berlin, “Why We Should Adopt an Elder,” The Forum (blog), July 5, 2012, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120705-why-we-should-adopt-an-elder (accessed February 10, 2018).
See Karen Zivi’s review of Ben Golder’s book Foucault and the Politics of Rights (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2015) in Contemporary Political Theory 16, no. 2 (2017): 314.
Golder, Foucault and the Politics of Rights.
Karen Zivi, Making Rights Claims: A Practice of Democratic Citizenship (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 80.
Zivi, quoting Michel Foucault, “The Social Triumph of the Sexual Will,” in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth, ed. Paul Rabinow, trans. Robert Hurley et al. (1982; repr., New York: New Press, 1997), 160.
Deborah Posel and Pamila Gupta, “The Life of the Corpse: Framing Reflections and Questions,” African Studies 68, no. 3 (2009): 300. Posel and Gupta state, “The regularization of death is inseparable from what Michel Foucault (2003) termed biopolitics” (300).
Death studies scholars have explored the complex existence of the corpse: it is a material object that may temporarily circulate but ultimately requires removal/containment. Moreover, dead bodies can anchor social platforms and geographies of power. Refer to Jacque Lynn Foltyn, “The Corpse in Contemporary Culture: Identifying, Transacting, and Recoding the Dead Body in the Twenty-First Century,” Mortality 13, no. 2 (2008): 99–104; Katherine Verdery, The Political Lives of Dead Bodies (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999); Craig Young and Duncan Light, “Corpses, Dead Body Politics and Agency in Human Geography: Following the Corpse of Dr. Petru Groza,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38 (2013): 135–48.
Philip R. Olson, “Corpses, Technologies, and Cultures,” CFP for Open Session 59, Joint Meeting of Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (ESOCITE), August 20–23, 2014, Buenos Aires, Argentina, posted on Discard Studies (blog), January 24, 2014, http://discardstudies.com/2014/01/24/cfp-corpses-technologies-and-cultures/ (accessed August 5, 2016).
Recent death studies scholarship has examined the changing composition of bodies, interactions with land/nature, and technologies of disposal and commemoration. Geographers have also contributed political geographies of dead bodies and research on the importance of space, place, and landscape in the way that death and mourning are imagined and lived, and the differing attitudes toward death related to spaces of dying, grieving, and memorialization. See note 15.
Bioremediation is a waste management technique that involves the use of organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated site—or, more generally, to remedy something, in particular reversing or stopping environmental damage.
We employ the term biopresence as inspired by Georg Tremmel and Shiho Fukuhara’s project Biopresence: Human DNA Trees, 2007, http://www.biopresence.com/description.html (accessed January 17, 2017).
Henry A. Giroux, “Reading Hurricane Katrina: Race, Class, and the Biopolitics of Disposability,” College Literature 33, no. 3 (2006): 171–96; Giroux, “Violence, Katrina, and the Biopolitics of Disposability,” Theory, Culture, and Society 24, no. 7–8 (2007): 305–9.
Clare Madge, “Living through, Living with and Living on from Breast Cancer in the UK: Creative Cathartic Methodologies, Cancerous Spaces and a Politics of Compassion,” Social and Cultural Geography 17, no. 2 (2016): 207–32.
Michel Foucault, “17 March 1976,” in Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France 1975–1976, ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana, trans. David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003), 254–55.
Young and Light, “Corpses, Dead Body Politics.”
This transition included a shift in the nomenclature and organization of the home: the “parlour” moved outside of the private home (supplanted by the professional funeral parlour) and was renamed the “living room.” Death work also shifted from largely informal women’s work to the male-dominated funeral profession.
Peter Clark and Isabelle Szmigin, “The Structural Captivity of the Funeral Consumer: An Anglo-American Comparison,” July 7–9, 2003, Critical Management Studies, Lancaster University, 2, http://www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/cmsconference/2003/proceedings/criticalmarketing/Clark.pdf (accessed January 12, 2017).
Young and Light, “Corpses, Dead Body Politics”; Margaret Schwartz, “An Iconography of Flesh: How Corpses Mean as Matter,” Communication +1 2, no. 1 (2013): 1–16.
U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, “National Register Bulletin: Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places,” 1992, http://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb41/nrb41_5.htm (accessed January 12, 2017).
This chapter draws on a rich literature that explores deathscapes and geographies of the dead and dying (much of it in the United Kingdom), e.g., Andy Clayden, Jenny Hockey, and Mark Powell, “Natural Burial: The De-materialising of Death?,” in The Matter of Death: Space, Place and Materiality, ed. Jenny Hockey, Carol Komaromy, and Kate Woodthorpe, 148–64 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Hannah Rumble, John Troyer, Tony Walter, and Kate Woodthorpe, “Disposal or Dispersal? Environmentalism and Final Treatment of the British Dead,” Mortality 19, no. 3 (2014): 243–60; Richard Yarwood, James D. Sidaway, Claire Kelly, and Susie Stillwell, “Sustainable Deathstyles? The Geography of Green Burials in Britain,” Geographical Journal 181, no. 2 (2015): 172–84; Jenny Hockey, Trish Green, Andy Clayden, and Mark Powell, “Landscapes of the Dead? Natural Burial and the Materialization of Absence,” Journal of Material Culture 17, no. 2 (2012): 115–32; Olivia Stevenson, Charlotte Kenten, and Avril Maddrell, “And Now the End Is Near: Enlivening and Politicising the Geographies of Dying, Death and Mourning,” Social and Cultural Geography 17, no. 2 (2016): 153–65; and Avril Maddrell, “Mapping Grief: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Spatial Dimensions of Bereavement, Mourning and Remembrance,” Social and Cultural Geography 17, no. 2 (2016): 166–88. See also Jean-Robert Pitte, “A Short Cultural Geography of Death and the Dead,” GeoJournal 60, no. 4 (2004): 345–51; Tan Boon Hui and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, “The ‘Remains of the Dead’: Spatial Politics of Nation-Building in Post-War Singapore,” Human Ecology Review 9, no. 1 (2002): 1–13; and Lily Kong, “Cemeteries, Columbaria, Memorials and Mausoleums: Narrative and Interpretation in the Study of Deathscapes in Geography,” Australian Geographical Studies 37, no. 1 (1999): 1–10.
Doris Francis, “Cemeteries as Cultural Landscapes,” Mortality 8, no. 2 (2003): 224; Suzanne Kelly, “Dead Bodies That Matter: Toward a New Ecology of Human Death in American Culture,” Journal of American Culture 35, no. 1 (2012): 37–51; Julie Rugg, “Lawn Cemeteries: The Emergence of a New Landscape of Death,” Urban History 33, no. 2 (2006): 213–33.
Because of space limitations, we are unable to incorporate cemetery reforms, from the rural cemetery movement to “modern” cemetery planning and the City Beautiful memorial park.
Yarwood et al., “Sustainable Deathstyles?,” 174; Hockey et al., “Landscapes of the Dead?,” 124.
Alexandra Harker, “Landscapes of the Dead: An Argument for Conservation Burial,” Berkeley Planning Journal 25, no. 1 (2012): 150–59; Funeral Consumers Alliance, “Green Burial,” November 26, 2007, https://funerals.org/greenburial/ (accessed January 17, 2018).
Bruna Oliveira, Paula Quinteiro, Carla Caetano, Helena Nadais, Luís Arroja, Eduardo Ferreira da Silva, and Manuel Senos Matias, “Burial Grounds’ Impact on Groundwater and Public Health: An Overview,” Water and Environment Journal 27 (2013): 99–106; Johnny P. Stowe Jr., Elise Vernon Schmidt, and Deborah Green, “Toxic Burials: The Final Insult,” Conservation Biology 15, no. 6 (2001): 1817–19; Józef Żychowski, “Impact of Cemeteries on Groundwater Chemistry: A Review,” Catena 93 (2012): 29–37.
Kelly, “Dead Bodies That Matter.” See also Elizabeth J. Emerick, “Death and the Corpse: An Analysis of the Treatment of Death and Dead Bodies in Contemporary American Society,” Anthropology of Consciousness 11, no. 1–2 (2000): 34–48.
National Funeral Directors Association, http://www.nfda.org/news/media-center/nfda-news-releases/id/1310/2016-nfda-cremation-and-burial-report-released-rate-of-cremation-surpasses-that-of-burial-in-2015 (accessed January 17, 2017).
Yarwood et al., “Sustainable Deathstyles?,” 174. This includes concerns over the “turnover” of interred bodies: unless high maintenance costs are paid, cemeteries will typically remove coffins after twenty years and rebury bodies in common graves. As a result, cremation with smaller plots for urns, not coffins, is growing.
For data on cremation toxicity, consult Montse Mari and José L. Domingo, “Toxic Emissions from Crematories: A Review,” Environment International 36 (2010): 131–37; Louise Canning and Isabelle Szmigin, “Death and Disposal: The Universal, Environmental Dilemma,” Journal of Marketing Management 26, no. 11–12 (2010): 1129–42.
Karen Sprey, “Resomation and Corpse-Composting: Alternatives to Cremation and Burial,” New Atlas, July 5, 2010, http://newatlas.com/resomation-corpse-composting-green-burial/15603/ (accessed January 15, 2017).
For discussion of the broad social arenas and markets of “sustainability,” refer to Adrian Parr, Hijacking Sustainability (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009); Parr, The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012).
Rumble et al., “Disposal or Dispersal?”
“Exploitation” of the corpse is not necessarily negative—the phrase here merely emphasizes the application of the dead body/parts to other uses.
Foltyn, “Corpse in Contemporary Culture,” 200.
Catherine Waldby, The Visible Human Project: Informatic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine (London: Routledge, 2000); see also Stefan Helmreich, “Species of Biocapital,” Science as Culture 17, no. 4 (2008): 463–78.
Margaret Lock on the reinvention of “death” for U.S. organ transplantation/donation: Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Organdonor.gov, “Registration Statistics,” https://www.organdonor.gov/statistics-stories/statistics.html (accessed May 6, 2019).
Donate Life America, https://www.donatelife.net/statistics/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
BioGift, http://www.biogift.org/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/body-donation/overview (accessed January 17, 2017).
Taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms. Monica Raymunt, “Down on the Body Farm: Inside the Dirty World of Forensic Science,” Atlantic, December 2, 2010, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/down-on-the-body-farm-inside-the-dirty-world-of-forensic-science/67241/ (accessed August 5, 2016); Robert Gannon, “The Body Farm,” Popular Science 251, no. 3 (1997): 77.
Forensic Anthropology Center, https://fac.utk.edu/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991).
This process is increasingly regulated by state guidelines on disposing and recycling crematory metals. The laws are aimed at resolving legal uncertainties about who owns the right to the salvaged material.
Implant Recycling, http://www.implantrecycling.com/home.html (accessed January 15, 2017).
Sandy Bauers, “Ultimate Recycling: Artificial Joints after Recycling,” Inquirer, February 24, 2012, https://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20120224_Ultimate_recycling__Artificial_joints_after_cremation.html (accessed January 13, 2017).
Dr. John Troyer, Deputy Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, quoted in Andrew Mourant, “Should the Excess Heat from Cremation Be Recycled?,” The Guardian, April 25, 2011, http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/apr/25/cremation-excess-heat-research (accessed January 13, 2017).
Georgina Cooper, “Crematorium May Use Its Heat to Warm Mourners,” Reuters, January 9, 2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/01/09/us-britain-cremation-idUSL0925836220080109 (accessed January 13, 2017); Economist, “Body Heat,” August 6, 2009, http://www.economist.com/node/14191268 (accessed January 13, 2017).
Warren McLaren, “Dead People Are Cool: Crematorium Heat Powers Air Conditioning,” Treehugger (blog), October 8, 2009, http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/dead-people-are-cool-crematorium-heat-powers-air-conditioning.html (accessed January 17, 2017); Green Futures Magazine, “Circle of Life: Waste Heat Harnessed from Cremation,” July 25, 2011, https://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/circle-life-waste-heat-harnessed-cremation (accessed January 17, 2017).
Justin Nobel, “New Life for Crematories’ Heat Waste,” Pacific Standard Magazine, May 24, 2011, http://www.psmag.com/nature-and-technology/new-life-for-crematories-waste-heat-31501 (accessed January 17, 2017).
Virginia Hughes, “Waste Heat Is Free Energy. So Why Aren’t We Using It?,” Popular Science, March 13, 2014, http://www.popsci.com/article/science/waste-heat-free-energy-so-why-arent-we-using-it (accessed January 13, 2017).
National Funeral Directors Association, “Statistics,” July 30, 2015, http://nfda.org/media-center/statistics.html (accessed July 8, 2016).
Philip R. Olson, “Flush and Bone: Funeralizing Alkaline Hydrolysis in the United States,” Science, Technology, and Human Values 39, no. 5 (2014): 671.
Mayo Clinic, “Body Donation at Mayo Clinic,” http://www.mayoclinic.org/body-donation/making-donation (accessed January 13, 2017).
C. DeArmond, “Site Visit: Green Cremation, St. Petersburg Funeral Home Offers a Green Way to Go with World’s First Commercial Resomator,” 2nd Green Revolution (blog), September 14, 2011, http://2ndgreenrevolution.com/2011/09/14/site-visit-green-cremation-st-petersburg-funeral-home-offers-a-green-way-to-go-with-world’s-first-commercial-resomator/ (accessed July 8, 2016). Water accounts for approximately 95 percent of the total solution.
U.S. Funerals Online, “Aquamation or Resomation,” April 22, 2014, http://www.us-funerals.com/funeral-articles/aquamation-or-resomation-a-green-alternative-to-the-traditional-funeral.html (accessed January 13, 2017).
As of 2018, states that have approved resomation include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming. States with pending approval encompass California, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. For analysis of the controversial deployment of alkaline hydrolysis in the United States, see Olson, “Flush and Bone.” Resomation Limited started in Scotland; the process was adapted for funeral home use by the Mayo Clinic in its anatomy bequest program (since 2007). The first resomation machine was installed in the Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home in St. Petersburg, Florida, followed by the Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center in Stillwater, Minnesota. Another alternative funeral method, “cryomation” or “promession,” lowers emissions without extensive water use; for more detail, refer to Promessa, “Ecological Burial,” 2014, http://www.promessa.se/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Rumble et al., “Disposal or Dispersal?,” 248: “The fuel for burning a human body comes only in part from the gas burners and from the wood of the coffin; it also comes substantially from the body’s own fat. Thus, recycling the heat produced in cremation entails burning the dead’s fat to warm the living.”
Kelly, “Dead Bodies That Matter,” 48.
Sarah Bezan, “Necro-Eco: The Ecology of Death in Jim Crace’s Being Dead,” Mosaic 48, no. 3 (2015): 191–207.
This is a play on the words “cradle to cradle,” a trademarked design concept by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. See the documentary film Waste=Food, dir. Rob van Hattum, 2006 (51 min.). The idea that the human body and human decomposition could be reconceived as “food” for nature or animals is also explored by environmental activist-writers: Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (New York: Ballantine Books, 1985); Val Plumwood, “Prey to a Crocodile,” Aisling Magazine 30 (2002), http://www.aislingmagazine.com/aislingmagazine/articles/TAM30/ValPlumwood.html (accessed May 3, 2019).
Urban Death Project, http://urbandeathproject.org/#overview (accessed January 15, 2017).
Urban Death Project.
Jae Rhim Lee, “My Mushroom Burial Suit,” TEDGlobal 2011, https://www.ted.com/talks/jae_rhim_lee?language=en (accessed January 17, 2017); Coeio, “Infinity Burial Suit,” http://coeio.com/infinity-burial-suit-2/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Sara J. Marsden, “Green Burial Sites in the United States,” U.S. Funerals Online, July 19, 2016, http://www.us-funerals.com/funeral-articles/directory-of-green-burial-sites-in-the-united-states.html (accessed January 15, 2018).
Green Burial Council, https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/our_standards.html (accessed May 3, 2019).
The most advanced Three-Leaf ranking is reserved for conservation burial grounds that must protect an area of land specifically designated for conservation, i.e., a conservation easement or deed restriction guaranteeing long-term stewardship.
This median figure does not include cemetery vault, monument/marker, fees for opening/closing the plot, crematory fee (if selected), or items like flowers, burial clothing, an obituary, or clergy fees. If a conservation cemetery is chosen, perpetual care costs are less than a traditional cemetery: the money is applied toward maintaining trails rather than lawn mowing and fighting invasive plant species. A plant or engraved boulder can be used to mark the grave—or nothing but knowledge of the GPS coordinates.
Kelly, “Dead Bodies That Matter,” 50. In most states, it is legal to care for your own dead; however, this is heavily conditioned—if not wholly prohibited—by law at other scales, particularly municipal regulations. For more information, refer to Funerals Online, “What Do I Do If I Can’t Afford a Funeral?,” June 8, 2013, http://www.us-funerals.com/funeral-articles/what-to-do-if-i-cannot-afford-a-funeral.html (accessed January 13, 2017). A growing number of “death midwives” and “home death guides” help people navigate “act local” death options. The National Home Funeral Alliance coordinates a code of ethics and rules to govern home death advisors. Other efforts focus on advanced planning resources and education about death care.
Eternity Cardboard Casket, http://www.eeternity.com/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Kinkaraco, http://kinkaraco.com/pages/history (accessed January 17, 2017).
ARKA Acorn Urn, http://funerals.naturalburialcompany.com/products/ARKA-Acorn-Urn-%252d-Green.html (accessed January 17, 2017); Bios Urn, https://urnabios.com/ (accessed January 17, 2017); Shell Urn, https://www.passagesinternational.com/biodegradable-urns/water/shell-urns/ (accessed May 3, 2019).
LifeGem, http://www.lifegem.com/images/LifeGem_Web_Brochure_Current.pdf (accessed January 17, 2017). The first U.S. company to extract carbon from human remains, LifeGem provides unique identifiers and etching options and guarantees certification of the diamond by authorized gemologists. Depending on weight, color, and carats, the price ranges from $2,690 to $24,999.
Marisa Kakoulas, “Cremation Ashes Memorial Tattoo,” May 9, 2011, http://www.needlesandsins.com/2011/05/cremation-ashes-memorial-tattoo.html (accessed January 17, 2017).
Eternal Reefs, “What Is an Eternal Reef?,” 2014, http://eternalreefs.com/the-eternal-reefs-story/what-is-an-eternal-reef/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Eternal Reefs, http://eternalreefs.com/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
Biopresence, “Biopresence. Human DNA Trees,” 2007, http://www.biopresence.com/description.html (accessed January 17, 2017).
Georg Tremmel and Shiho Fukuhara, “Biopresence,” http://www.trembl.org/alumni/01-03/transplant.html (accessed January 17, 2017). Joe Davies is known for his efforts to place fifty thousand of the most popular Wikipedia pages into the DNA of an apple tree to generate a Tree of Knowledge.
Natalia Lizama, “Afterlife, but Not as We Know It: Medicine, Technology and the Body Resurrected” (PhD diss., University of Western Australia, Perth, 2008).
Foucault, “17 March 1976,” 254–55.
Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics,” Public Culture 15, no. 1 (2003): 11–40; Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (New York: Verso, 2010).
Posel and Gupta, “Life of the Corpse,” 303.
A notable exception is the social networking of organ donation charity, such as organ donation circles.
Social death refers to the “dispossessed” social ontology of the living who are cut off from social ties and suffer the condition of not being accepted as fully human. Prime examples are slavery, apartheid, and racial, gendered, and sexual exclusions and terrorisms. This important theorization extends from Orlando Patterson’s work on slavery as one of the most extreme forms of domination. See Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982). For our purposes here, we use the term social death of death to explore the privatizing of death as a social relation with the material dead body.
The corpse can be said to have a dynamic digital afterlife and online postmortal intersubjectivity/agency; refer to Adam Tucker, “Virtually Dead: The Extension of Social Agency to Corpses and the Dead on Facebook” (honors thesis 53, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, St. Joseph, Minn., 2014), http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/honors_theses/53 (accessed January 17, 2017); Natalie Pennington, “You Don’t De-friend the Dead: An Analysis of Grief Communication by College Students through Facebook Profiles,” Death Studies 37, no. 7 (2013): 617–35; Patrick Stokes, “Ghosts in the Machine: Do the Dead Live on in Facebook?,” Philosophy and Technology 25, no. 3 (2012): 363–79; Sheila Harper, “The Social Agency of Dead Bodies,” Mortality 15, no. 4 (2010): 308–22.
Olson, “Flush and Bone”; Clark and Szmigin, “Structural Captivity of the Funeral Consumer,” 5; Jessica Mitford, “The Undertaker’s Racket,” Atlantic Monthly, June 1963, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1963/06/the-undertakers-racket/305318/ (accessed January 17, 2017).
For example, “direct cremation” is now a standard package that includes taking the body to a crematory, placing it in a cardboard container, cremating the body, completing necessary documents, and shipping ashes to the family for keeping or burial/placement in a cemetery. David E. Harrington, “Markets: Preserving Funeral Markets with Ready-to-Embalm Laws,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21, no. 4 (2007): 201–16.
On the dispossession of human remains via science, anthropology, and museums, refer to Kim TallBear, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013); Jenny Reardon and Kim TallBear, “‘Your DNA Is Our History’: Genomics, Anthropology, and the Construction of Whiteness as Property,” Current Anthropology 53 (2012): S233–45.
Harriet A. Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Anchor, 2008); Alondra Nelson, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011); Jenna M. Loyd, Health Rights Are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963–1978 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014). Also see chapter 2 of this volume.
Refer to Nancy Scheper-Hughes, “The Ends of the Body: Commodity Fetishism and the Global Traffic in Organs,” SAIS Review 22, no. 1 (2002): 61–80.
In the United States, organ donation is regulated under the National Organ Transplant Act, a 1984 law that categorizes human organs as a national resource and prohibits their sale. However, there are numerous cases of violation. Refer to David E. Harrington and Edward A. Sayre, “Paying for Bodies, but Not for Organs,” Regulation, Winter 2006–7, 14–19.
Another cost–benefit default of many U.S. states is to utilize prisoners for cemetery labor, at no cost and little concern for any toxic exposure. The category “unknowns” refers to those dead bodies that were not found to be connected—owned—by anyone living, in other words, those unclaimed bodies that therefore became property of the state for disposal. Potter’s field—a biblical expression referencing a field that was useless to agriculture and could be utilized for the extraction of potter’s clay and as a burial site—also known as a common grave, usually refers to a place for the burial of indigent and/or unknown people.
For discussion of disappearing bodies, refer to Monica J. Casper and Lisa Jean Moore, Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility (New York: New York University Press, 2009). For an overview of the controversy over the official U.S. death toll of Puerto Rico, see Alexis R. Santos-Lozada, “Why Puerto Rico’s Death Toll from Hurricane Maria Is So Much Higher than Officials Thought,” Conversation, January 3, 2018, https://theconversation.com/why-puerto-ricos-death-toll-from-hurricane-maria-is-so-much-higher-than-officials-thought-89349 (accessed February 3, 2018).
Karla Zabludovsky, “In Texas, a Surge of Migrants Also Means a Surge of Dead Bodies,” Newsweek, July 24, 2014, http://www.newsweek.com/texas-migrant-country-medical-examiner-busy-260979 (accessed April 15, 2017).
Merrit Kennedy, “Lead-Laced Water in Flint: A Step-by-Step Look at the Makings of a Crisis,” Two-Way, NPR, April 20, 2016, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/20/465545378/lead-laced-water-in-flint-a-step-by-step-look-at-the-makings-of-a-crisis (accessed February 3, 2018); Oona Goodin-Smith, “Lead in Flint Water Increased Fetal Deaths, Lowered Fertility, Study Says,” MLive, October 13, 2017, http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/09/lead_in_flint_water_increased.html (accessed February 3, 2018); Keith Matheny, “Study: Flint Water Killed Unborn Babies; Many Moms Who Drank It Didn’t Get Pregnant,” September 20, 2017, https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2017/09/20/flint-water-crisis-pregnancies/686138001/ (accessed February 3, 2018). For analysis of Flint with respect to environmental racism and racial capitalism/racial liberalism, refer to Laura Pulido, “Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism,” Capitalism Nature Socialism 27, no. 3 (2016): 1–16; Malini Ranganathan, “Thinking with Flint: Racial Liberalism and the Roots of an American Water Tragedy,” Capitalism Nature Socialism 27, no. 3 (2016): 17–33; Julie Sze, Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger (Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming).
Rugg, “Lawn Cemeteries”; Francis, “Cemeteries as Cultural Landscapes.”
Kelly, “Dead Bodies That Matter,” 38.
Ellen Stroud, “Dead Bodies in Harlem: Environmental History and the Geography of Death,” in The Nature of Cities: Culture, Landscape and Urban Space, ed. Andrew Isenberg, 62–76 (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2006).
David Charles Sloane, The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991).
Adonnica Toler, Historian/Museum Assistant at the Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville, Florida, quoted in Jacob Long, “Death and Burials: The Final Frontier for Segregation,” First Coast News, April 30, 2014, http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/2014/04/30/segregation-jacksonville-cemetery-death-burials/8510995/ (accessed July 8, 2016). Ethnic differences, class, age, family conflicts over birth and marriage, and “strains between communal values and the autonomy of the socially mobile individual are marked by permanent mortuary symbols.” Refer to Francis, “Cemeteries as Cultural Landscapes,” 223.
Douglas James Davies, A Brief History of Death (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995).
This idea draws on Joseph Pugliese’s concept of “necrological whiteness,” which he deploys to explore how “whiteness exercises its signifying grip beyond the biological life of the subject. . . . The phase of biological death must be seen as firmly situated within the racializing continuum maintained and reproduced by a cluster of different institutions, authorities and regulative regimes.” See Pugliese, “Necrological Whiteness: The Racial Prosthetics of Template Bodies,” Continuum 19, no. 3 (2005): 349.
Tony Platt, “UC and Native Americans: Unsettled Remains,” Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/18/opinion/la-oe-platt-native-american-indian-remains-20130618 (accessed January 15, 2017); USA Today, “Black History Dies in Neglected Southern Cemeteries,” January 30, 2013, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/30/black-history-dies-in-southern-cemeteries/1877687/ (accessed January 15, 2017). In essentially one month’s time in early 2017, three Jewish cemeteries were serially defiled in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Rochester, along with anti-Semitic threats of violence against Jewish community centers. This has only escalated through 2018 and 2019.
The Pensacola Area Cemetery Team (PACT) is a prominent example. Refer to Joe Vinson, “A Community ‘PACT’ to Preserve, Share Historic Black Cemeteries,” Studer Community Institute, March 26, 2015, http://studeri.org/2015/03/a-community-pact-to-preserve-share-historic-black-cemeteries/ (accessed January 15, 2017).
For example, Louisville, Kentucky’s, St. Joseph of Arimathea Society sends volunteer high school students to serve as pallbearers and handle any religious readings. See Trinity High School’s Joseph of Arimathea Society, http://www.trinityrocks.com/students/student-life/clubs-activities/special-interest/joseph-of-arimathea-society/ (September 15, 2017).
Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., leads tours of LGBTQ activism that include Leonard Matlovich’s tombstone. For examples of historic civil rights actions and funerals, and the crucial infrastructure of black funeral homes for African American community organizing, see Suzanne E. Smith, To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010).
Stuart Murray, “Thanatopolitics: Reading in Agamben a Rejoinder to Biopolitical Life,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 5, no. 2 (2008): 203–7.
Dave Brennan, “Dying Destitute in the United States,” Funeral Law (blog), April 2, 2014, http://funerallaw.typepad.com/blog/2014/04/dying-destitute-in-the-united-states.html (accessed July 8, 2016).
Stuart Murray, “Thanatopolitics: On the Use of Death for Mobilizing Political Life,” Polygraph 18 (2006): 193.
Didier Fassin, “Another Politics of Life Is Possible,” Theory, Culture, and Society 26, no. 5 (2009): 53.
For an examination of endurance, see Elizabeth Povinelli, Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism (Durham, S.C.: Duke University Press, 2011), and Povinelli, “The Will to Be Otherwise/The Effort of Endurance,” South Atlantic Quarterly 111, no. 3 (2012): 453–75.
Jacques Derrida, The Last Interview (New York: Studio Visit, 2004). In this understanding, survival is “the affirmation of someone who prefers living, and therefore surviving, to death.” Note that this is a radically different notion of survival to the one we discuss in chapter 1. There we talk of the survivor narrative, which is predicated on relentless life, optimism, and triumphalism.
Didier Fassin, “Ethics of Survival: A Democratic Approach to the Politics of Life,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 1, no. 1 (2010): 83.
Murray, “Thanatopolitics,” 211.
S. Lochlann Jain, “Living in Prognosis: Toward an Elegiac Politics,” Representations 98 (2007): 90.
Peter James Hudson, “The Geographies of Blackness and Anti-Blackness: An Interview with Katherine McKittrick,” CLR James Journal 20, no. 1–2 (2014): 237. There is obviously a long history and rich present of such activity within black communities.
McKittrick brilliantly asserts, “So, for me, one way to dislodge this kind of analytic thinking is to both expose its naturalness (of course violence is wrong and unjust, but why is naming it naturally at the heart of our academic conclusions!), to draw attention to black thinkers that provide deliberate commentary on the ways in which blackness works against the violence that defines it (so here I look to the work of [Sylvia] Wynter among many many others, Audre Lorde, [Frantz] Fanon, Saidiya Hartman, as well as a whole range of black creative thinkers and musicians), and to demand that this deliberate commentary be central to how we think about and organize the planet and our futures.” Hudson, 240.
Michel Foucault, “Questions of Method,” in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, ed. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and Peter Miller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 84. Key to Foucault’s method is the “immense and proliferating criticizability of things, institutions, practices, and discourses.” Refer to Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975–1976, ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana, trans. David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003), 6.
Michel Foucault, “What Is Critique?,” in The Politics of Truth, ed. Sylvère Lotringer, trans. Lysa Hochroth and Catherine Porter (New York: Semiotext(e), 1997), 45.
Again, we take a Foucauldian approach to the question of ethics. Ethics are not morals, in Foucault’s formulation. Rather, ethical activity “has to do with actions and choices”; refer to Ladelle McWhorter, Bodies and Pleasures: Foucault and the Politics of Sexual Normalization (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), 195. Also see Foucault’s discussion about meditating on death as a form of care in The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981–1982 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 355–70. Our understanding of care stems from a feminist ethics of care standpoint. See specifically María Puig de la Bellacasa, “Matters of Care in Technoscience: Assembling Neglected Things,” Social Studies of Science 41, no. 1 (2011): 85–106, and Joan Tronto, Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care (New York: Routledge, 1993).
Stuart Murray, “Affirming the Human? The Question of Biopolitics,” Law, Culture, and the Humanities 12, no. 3 (2016): 495.
Vulnerability has been politicized in the theoretical arena and seen as the site from which a potential ethics might emerge. This has been particularly evident in the fields of disability studies, environmental studies, and material feminisms. Studies of biomedicine and bioethics have taken a renewed interest in the theorization of vulnerability and its accompanying ethics. See, for instance, the special issue on “Vulnerability” of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 5, no. 2 (2012).