Oxford, 8 and 9 June 2021

Oxford digital workshop: Body counts, Methods, sources and evidence

Prior registration : benoit.pouget@univ-amu.fr

This workshop will examine methodologies and sources for understanding mass deaths, from the 1700s through to the present day. It seeks to examine how modern-day methodologies – particularly forensic science, international law, and statistics – came to be seen as the central methodologies for identifying and demonstrating evidence of mass casualties.


Tuesday June 8, 2021

Introduction and welcome : Erica Charters and Benoît Pouget

( 13h30 -15h10 UK // 14h30 – 16h10 FR) Counting and Accountability

Walter Bruyere-Ostells ‘Counting the dead in the wars from the French Revolution to the Second Empire: Issues, historiography and methodological approaches’, Elisabeth Anstett ‘Bones of contention. Social anthropologists and the disputes over victims’ enumeration in contemporary genocide and mass violence contexts’, Rod Bailey ‘Lies and Statistics: A Case Study of Killings and Alleged Cover-ups’, Caroline Fournet ‘Numbers as Evidence: Determining the Number of Victims before International Criminal Tribunals and Courts ‘, Sophie Gueudet ‘“Alleged massacre”: The “Report about case Srebrenica” and denial politics in Republika Srpska’.


( 15h25 – 17h00 UK / / 16h25 –18h00 FR) Remains, Methods, and Forensics

Martin Smith ‘Bodies of Evidence: Human remains as direct indicators of violence and conflict’, Nicholas Marquez-Grant ‘The Recovery and Identification of Human Remains from WWI’, Paul Lenormand and Alain Alexandra ‘Exhumations and identifications in Europe: the French missions and their forensic practices’, Jean-Marc Dreyfus ‘Holocaust studies and the forensic turn’, and Pascal Adalian ‘Commingled human remains: general considerations for estimating the minimum number of individual’.


Wednesday June 9, 2021

(13h30 -15h00 UK // 14h30 -16h00 FR ) Records and Memory

William Butler ‘Studying British Official Casualty Data from the Second World War: Records from The National Archives, UK’; Taline Garibian ‘Counting, Locating and Repatriating the Missing. The Diplomacy of Dead Bodies during the Great War’; Tom Duurland ‘Stuck in the past. Military medical (un)preparedness during the Cold War’, and George Hay ‘”As to casualties, the position is that we have no…names:” Accounting for African and Egyptian First World War dead’.


(15h15- 16h45 UK // 16h15 – 17h45 FR ) Mass Violence and Mass Death

Pierre Guyomarc’h ‘Counting the dead and humanitarian forensics: the potential for an efficient medico-legal system in emergency situations’, Alexa Stiller ‘Methods of Identifying Victim Numbers in Historical Research on Mass Violence: Nazi Statistics, Evidence in the Nuremberg Trials, and Forensic Investigations on the Srebrenica Mass Murder’, Sebastian Bondzio ‘Mass Death? Revisiting German fallen soldiers of the First World War’, and Jasper Heinzen ‘What is a life worth? Utilitarianism and the measuring of mass death’.


( 16h45 – 17h00 UK // 17h45 – 18h00 FR) Concluding Remarks : Erica Charters & Benoît Pouget


Organizers and scientific direction: Charters Erica is Associate Professor of Global History and the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford; Director, Oxford Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology; Co-director, Oxford Centre for Global History, and Pouget Benoît is Associate Professor of Modern History at Sciences Po Aix and member of UMR 7064 Mesopolhis (CNRS– Sciences Po Aix – Aix Marseille Université).

Academics Partners : Oxford University — Sciences Po Aix, UMR 7064 Mesopolhis — Aix-Marseille University, UMR 7268 ADES – Service Historique de la Défense – University of Groninguen