Cover image for The political lives of dead bodies : reburial and postsocialist change
The political lives of dead bodies : reburial and postsocialist change
Verdery, Katherine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 185 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1480 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT3242 .V47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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As socialist regimes crumbled across Eastern Europe and statues of their leaders were dismantled, another pattern arose in the former Iron Curtain nations: the bodies of political leaders, revolutionary heroes, artists, and other luminaries were taken from their graves to be reinterred - and in many cases, repatriated - in new, symbolically charged locations. What forces inspired these exhumations of long-dead spirits of Eastern Europe's past, from composer Bela Bartok's New York-Budapest journey to evictions of a group of Romanian communist leaders from their exalted mausoleums to a scattering of humble graveyards? What are the effects for the living of removing the bones of the dead from their resting places for ceremonial - or unceremonious - reburial?

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

In this intriguing book, anthropologist Verderyby her own admission a student of dead-body politicspoints out that some corpses have lived interesting livesabove all in Eastern Europe since the fall of communism. Her central question is, What is it about a corpse that seems to invite its use in politics? In the case of her chosen region, the answer is frequently, Plenty. While citing the examples of Nicholas II, Lenin, Imre Nagy, and others, she concentrates most attention on the post-death adventures of a Transylvanian bishop unknown outside Romania and little known inside. She freights this choice with a heavy significance whose justification is not readily apparent. Verderys profiles of these exhumations of sacred and profane figures and their posthumous travels should appeal to an academic audience in anthropology and sociology.Robert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. XI
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. XIII
The Political Lives of Dead Bodiesp. 0
Introduction Corpses on the Movep. 1
Chapter 1 Dead Bodies Animate the Study of Politicsp. 23
Chapter 2 The Restless Bones of Bishop Inochentie Micup. 55
Chapter 3 Giving Proper Burial, Reconfiguring Space and Timep. 95
Notesp. 129
Referencesp. 167
Indexp. 177