AccueilSeventh Day of Geography. Spaces of Death and the dead in spaces

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Publié le vendredi 13 février 2009 par Marie Pellen

Résumé

For the seventh consecutive year, the association Doc'Géo organizes the Day of Geography on April 7th, 2009 (in partnership with the Ecole Doctorale Montaigne Humanité, MSHA and ADES UMR CNRS 5185). This Day may primarily interest Masters, Doctoral, Post -doc, and therefore young researchers. The objective of this day is to consider the spatial dimension of death, a theme to which far too little attention was paid in the humanities, thus offering potential rich thematic analysis. The purpose of this one day conference is to initiate, through a partnership between several disciplines (geography, sociology, ethnology, anthropology, history, art history, philosophy, medicine, biology, ethology ...) an analysis of the relation between space and death.

Annonce

Call for Papers.

For the seventh consecutive year, the association Doc'Géo organizes the Day of Geography on April 7th, 2009 (in partnership with the Ecole Doctorale Montaigne Humanité, MSHA and ADES UMR CNRS 5185). This Day may primarily interest Masters, Doctoral, Post -doc, and therefore young researchers.

The objective of this day is to consider the spatial dimension of death, a theme to which far too little attention was paid in the humanities, thus offering potential rich thematic analysis. The purpose of this one day conference is to initiate, through a partnership between several disciplines (geography, sociology, ethnology, anthropology, history, art history, philosophy, medicine, biology, ethology ...) an analysis of the relation between space and death.

The definition of death, as much as life, has to do with space. The regular clinical re-definition of death and the legal definition of living already have spatial implications.  A first one is to delete by deleting the idea of a happening death in no time at all, therefore, in a given location, and a second one is determined by the treatment of the dead bodies, according to the civil society status they were granted in their lifetime.

The social status and the beliefs of the person also determine a continuation between the world of the living and the space of death. The links between the individual, the Society, the Religion and the State, through the perspective of the death, have a spatial dimension that deserves analysis.

Asking the question of the relationship between space and death leads to focus on the places where we die but also to question the locations devoted to the dead in space, as well as religious and mythical spaces of Death.

Three axis of research, non-exclusive, have been identified:

-         Spaces where one dies, neither they are chosen, nor institutionalized;

-         The dead in spaces: treatment of dead bodies and spaces devoted to the dead;

-         The spaces of Death: the next world spaces, as defined by  various religions, as described in holy texts, represented in art or mapped.

1.   The spaces where death occurs or is declared.

·        "bad" and "good" spaces to die in.

As the saying goes, “somebody always dies bad before their time”” or, as it could appear to some “indecent to die in the spring if you like lilac” (The Dirge Tango, Jacques Brel), there seems to be a “good” time to die. Similarly, all places are not worth dying in. There would be bad places to die in: at the hospital, at home, on the road, in the street and better places to die. To die in one’s bed can be seen as the best death, while some mountaineers find the mountains, or sailors find the sea, the most appropriate places to end. Some places are even selected in the case of voluntary death in particular, for their symbolic and practical function, or because of the peculiar legislation existing in these areas as in the case of euthanasia.

·         spaces of death framework

Legislative frameworks define therefore institutionalized places of death, where death is possible, or even organized (hospitals, death camp, Death Row).

The personal motivations and social choices can then be analyzed, as well as the efforts of the institutions to ensure the transition from life to death in some places and prevent killing, or assisting others to kill themselves.

However, Death eludes us most of the time. Some areas are particular in this regard by their high mortality rates, whether they are places dedicated to the care of patients, or they are likely to be affected by potentially deadly events that the society may not contain.

2.   The dead in spaces: the spaces concerned by the reception of dead bodies.

·        the treatment of dead bodies

If we are not, in our lifetime, all equal in front of death, all dead bodies are not necessarily of equal worth either, which translates spatially. The allowance or the prohibition of access to the burial sites, the location given to the various dead in cemeteries and the physical organization and architecture of graves show that the status of living determines their relationships to space, once they are dead. Places dedicated to "little angels" in cemeteries, headstones provided by some municipalities to the needy and the necropolis of the great men, ranging from the humble mound to the mausoleum, are proof of it. Beyond these differences, a real segregation may show up. Selected cemeteries for a confession, and religious squares within them, draw strict partitions in the spaces of death, according to the religion of the living. The ousting affects them also, including those in charge of handling dead bodies or worshiping their souls. How then could be spatially translated the need of the living to honor their dead?

 

·        the treatment of the spaces of the dead

The places to keep the bodies of the dead are evolving in response to the demands of societies and with the changes affecting the relations of the living to death, both their own and others. Even if they were long regarded as sacred, cemeteries are not always a final resting place, even the dead can move. The functional specialization of these places, which is far from exclusive, does not last forever. What about the other spaces who receives dead bodies?

The rules organizing these areas, their development, and their attendance are other possible lines of analysis.

3.   Spaces of Death: the religious and mythical next world spaces.

These spaces created by men, to locate and represent their future after their death, differ depending on their status and behaviors in the world of the living: Purgatory before Paradise (from the Greek "enclosed garden") or Hell, Limbos, the "frontiers of hell" for the children who died without baptism for Christians.

These places may be considered with regards on their status (places of transit or eternity, regarded as real or metaphorical), the context of their appearance and sometimes disappearance (the Catholic Church formally renounced Limbos in 2008), the way they are described in the holy texts, represented in art, or mapped.

The interactions between these spaces associated with death and the societies that represents them and are influenced by them, is of great interest to this 7th Day of Geography, as well as the effects of this belief in the existence of these spaces on individuals, societies and space.

The deadline for proposals is March 1st, 2009. Proposals must present a summary of the intervention, no longer that one page, accompanied by 5 keywords, name, surname, e-mail, lab and University of 'author (s). Send to docgeo_bdx@yahoo.fr

The papers selected and presented at this meeting will then be published in the journal of the ADES UMR CNRS 5185 (The Ades Books).

Lieux

  • Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine. MSHA. 10 Esplanades des Antilles
    Pessac, France

Dates

  • dimanche 01 mars 2009

Mots-clés

  • death, space, representation, pratices, rituals, beliefs

Contacts

  • Cécilia Comelli, Maéva Paupert ~
    courriel : docgeo_bdx [at] yahoo [dot] fr

Source de l'information

  • Cécilia Comelli, Maéva Paupert ~
    courriel : docgeo_bdx [at] yahoo [dot] fr

Pour citer cette annonce

« Seventh Day of Geography. Spaces of Death and the dead in spaces », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le vendredi 13 février 2009, http://calenda.org/196578