The theme of the conference is the ethics of dealing with the dead. All societies have strict cultural-specific rules governing the treatment of the dead, often grounded in religion and considered sacred. In the contemporary world, however, the dead are no longer regarded as entirely sacred. Skeletal remains are stored on museum shelves and in forensic labs, photographs of war dead or the victims of crime are displayed in exhibits and art galleries, cemeteries and battlefields are developed into golf courses and condominiums, and science is laying claim to body parts and human remains for research. Treatment of the dead has become an important ethical issue.
It is anticipated that papers or sessions will discuss:
the rights of the dead
ownership of the dead
the repatriation/ reburial of skeletal remains and funerary
preservation and commemoration of battlefields and other sites
of mass death
the personal and public aspects of death
disposal of the dead
death, art and censorship (i.e. what should be displayed to
Proposals for papers or sessions (limited to three papers) are invited on these or other related topics. Keynote speakers will be David Newhouse (Native Studies, Trent University) and James Chatters (Applied Paleoscience). Both will address the study of ancient Native skeletal remains. The conference is expected to attract academics from philosophy, history, religion and culture, fine arts, anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, and native studies. It is the intention of the conference organizers that the proceedings will be published.
Brantford is a community of 90,000 located 110 km west of Toronto. The Brantford Campus of Wilfrid Laurier University opened its doors in September of 1999 and offers a unique interdisciplinary liberal arts degree program called Contemporary Studies, featuring core courses such as: Environmental Issues and Responses, The World in the Twenty-First Century, Native American Culture in a Post-Colonial World, Science and Its Critics, and Culture and Representation.
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