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Marc Andrew Brightman

Full Professor

Department of Cultural Heritage

Academic discipline: M-DEA/01 Demology, Ethnology and Anthropology


Collaboration with:
European University Institute and Columbia University
United States of America
Conducted with Vanessa Grotti (EUI Florence) and Naor Ben-Yahoyada (Columbia University), Ecologies of Remembrance is an ethnographic study of the moral and material afterlives of contemporary migrant death along the Central Mediterranean route to Europe (between North Africa and Italy). Focusing on the passages of unidentified human remains in Italy from retrieval at sea through forensic processing and burial, this project departs from previous studies of border regimes and frontier deaths, and into a broader ecosystem of local and national emergency response, scientific evidence-making, mourning and remembrance. Through field research in places of forensic investigation and burial, connecting metropolitan centres with rural Sicily, Lampedusa and Calabria, and using a symmetric anthropological approach that gives equal weight to the different actors involved in handling the physical, social and ritual aspects of human remains and their identification, our project will demonstrate the entanglements between transnational kin networks, local landscapes and communities, religious and solidarity groups, and national and international political discourses. By exploring the moral and technical processing of migrant remains at different scales, it will make a significant new contribution to the anthropology of death, moral anthropology, the anthropology of memory and material culture studies.

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