In Their Presence: Recovery and Reclamation

In the 2020-2021 academic year, with the support of a Tufts Collaborates Seed Grant Program/Tufts SpringboardThe Diversity Fund, and the World Peace Foundation, the Tisch College’s Director of Public Humanities, Diane O’Donoghue, and WPF’s Research Director, Bridget Conley, have organized a series of five panels over the academic year that brings together leading international voices in areas of forensic ethics to address the materiality of post-life. You can find more information about additional panels, including how to register to attend future ones on the event site.

On November 18, we hosted the second session in the series: Recovery and Reclamation. It included presentations by Sarah Wagner, Associate Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University, and Adam Rosenblatt, Associate Professor of the Practice in International Comparative Studies at Duke University, and Board Member of the Friends of Geer Cemetery. Wagner began by discussing her work, “What Remains: Bringing America’s Missing Home from the Vietnam War.” She was followed by Rosenblatt who presented his work, “Ways of Knowing a Neglected Cemetery, Ways of Knowing the Dead.” Then the two scholars embarked on a conversation together and with the online audience.

Bridget Conley and Diane O’Donoghue host presentations and a discussion with Sarah Wagner and Adam Rosenblatt, about the ethics, relationships and challenges involved in caring for sites and skeletal remains of the dead. In the context of American soldiers missing in action in Vietnam, and ‘abandoned’ African-American cemeteries in the U.S., they probe issues related to how value is placed on the dead and by whom.

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