Publications and Lectures


Mar. 09/2023
ADSS Annual Lecture
Elisabeth Anstett
Mortality crises, funeral crises? Necropolitics in contemporary mass death contexts

Episodes of mass death directly or indirectly related to human activity including but not limited to wars, mass crimes, terrorism, epidemics, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis leave societies to face a sudden and massive influx of corpses, both complete and dismembered. These paroxysmal situations immediately render visible the limitations of the grammars underlying ordinary funerals and rituals. Dead bodies en masse thus prove to be highly problematic at many levels, all the more so when they are fragmented or remain unidentified. This public lecture investigates the various challenges raised by the funerary treatment of unidentified human remains and dead bodies’ fragments in the aftermath of several examples of contemporary mortality crises. In these situations, human remains and cadaver fragments indeed co-exist with the living, often for a long time, and require each society to answer essential (philosophical or moral, but also legal and practical) questions about the status they are granted (from simple pieces of waste to sanctified relics), about the chain of custody they are submitted to, and about what funeral or burial arrangements can be organised. Indeed, in some cases, mortuary and funerary practices, as well as collective representations of death and the dead, have to be reshaped, while in other instances they have to be radically (re)invented in order to be able to deal with such problematic objects in such high volume. Building on the works of philosopher Achille Mbembé (2006), political scientist Finn Steputtat (2014) and social anthropologists Katherine Verdery (1999), Francisco Ferrandiz and Tony Robben (2015), and focusing on the issue of dead body governance in contemporary mass death contexts, this public lecture sheds light on the treatment of incomplete bodies and cadaver fragments to reveal their powerful political dimension and the way they challenge the very capacity of each society to symbolically perpetuate itself.

For more information about this event, feel free to liaise with joint organisers Romain Fathi and Kate Falconer at and



Medical History



Taline GARIBIAN, ‘Pain, Medicine and the Monitoring of War Violence: The Case of Rifle Bullets (1868 – 1918)’, Medical History, Cambridge University Press, 2022/2.





Caroline Fournet, ‘La visibilité des stigmates de la guerre à Mostar, Banja Luka et Sarajevo dans les jugements du Tribunal Pénal pour l’ex-Yougoslavie’, Numéro ‘La Guerre en Bosnie-Herzégovine : acteurs, territoires et temporalités de la violence, (2022) 304 Revue Historique des Armées 66-78.





Cover for 

Max Planck Encyclopedias of International Law

Caroline Fournet, ‘Forensic Evidence: International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’, in Ruiz Fabri, H. (ed.), Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law(MPEiPro), Oxford: Oxford University Press




8 July 2022 : Erica Charters, lecture at National Army Museum (London) “The Welfare of the British Armed Forces During the Seven Years’ War”

31 May 2022 : Taline Garibian, lecture at Online Seminar series run by the AHRC-funded project ‘Colonial and Transnational intimacies’ (AH/T006382/1), University of Manchester ‘Forensic Intervention during WWII. Rethinking the Making of Evidence’, New approaches to Medical Care, Humanitarianism and Violence during the ‘long’ Second World War, 1931-1953.

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Adrien Douchet, Taline Garibian, Benoit Pouget, ‘Managing the remains of citizen soldiers: France and its war dead in 1914 and 1915’, Human remains and Violence. An Interdisciplinary Journal, Manchester University Press, 2021/1.





8 December 2021 : Erica Charters, Annual Lecture Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War, Kings College London. “The metrics of war: Excess mortality and the politics of counting” 

27 juin 2021 : Elisabeth Anstett, lecture at the Symposium Born from Disasters: Dealing with Death, Disaster Remains and Cultural Heritage in Time of Crisis in the frame of the International Conference Dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the CNEAS.TU, Tohoku University, Sendai (Japon), “The Difficult Issue of Incomplete Bodies and Cadaver’s Fragments of Mass Death”

14 avril 2021 : Elisabeth Anstett, Lecture at seminar series In their Presence, organised par Diane O’Donoghue et Bridget Conley, Tufts University, Boston (USA). « Moral and monetary economies in human remains curation »

16 February 2021 : Caroline Fournet, ‘Le TPIY et l’utilisation de la preuve médico-légale dans la qualification du crime de génocide’, UMR Mesopolhis, séminaire de l’Axe 5 ‘crises, violences et conflictualités’, Sciences Po Aix (France).


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Elisabeth Anstett & Aurore Schmitt (dir.), Des Cadavres dans nos poubelles. Restes humains et espaces détritiques de la Préhistoire à nos jours, Paris, Pétra, 2020, 296 p.

Que ce soit au sein de contextes archéologiques ou judiciaires, des restes humains sont régulièrement découverts dans des espaces réservés aux déchets. Ces situations ne témoignent pas seulement d’un simple abandon, mais semblent aussi liées à une volonté d’assimiler le corps mort à un détritus et de le déshumaniser. Mais est-ce toujours et partout le cas ? Comment, par qui et pourquoi certains individus sont-ils délibérément jetés après leur mort dans des dépotoirs ou des décharges ? Qui sont-ils ?Des cadavres dans nos poubelle montre ainsi que la violence symbolique portée au corps mort fait souvent suite à des violences physiques subies par le corps de son vivant. L’ouvrage interroge au final le statut du cadavre, tout autant que les logiques qui président à sa disqualification en déchet.

Forensic Science and Humanitarian Action: Interacting with the Dead and the  Living (Forensic Science in Focus) (English Edition) - eBooks em Inglês na

Parra R., Anstett E., Perich P., Buikstra J., “Unidentified deceased persons: Social life, social death and humanitarian action” in Roberto C. Parra; Sara C. Zapico; Douglas H. Ubelaker (eds.). Forensic Science and Humanitarian Action: Interacting with the Dead and the Living, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., pp.79-99.



Caroline Fournet, ‘Forensic evidence in atrocity trials: A risky sampling strategy?’, Special issue: Garrido, C. (ed.), Forensic Medicine in contexts of mass violence, (2020) 69,  Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, article 101852

In the light of the recent judgments issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), including two acquittals and one very recent condemnation of the accused on all charges, analysing and assessing evidentiary practice before the Court is all the more pressing. This article focuses on one particular type of evidence used by the Prosecution, namely, forensic evidence, to critically review how it has been used so far at the ICC and consider whether the prosecutorial strategy of focusing on a certain sample of crimes is finally paying off.

Caroline Fournet and A. Matwijkiw (eds), Biolaw and International Criminal Law: Towards Interdisciplinary SynergiesStudies in International Criminal Law, Leiden: Brill / Nijhoff Publishers, 2020.

The originality of this volume lies in the interdisciplinary synergies that emerge through the issues it explores and the approaches it adopts. It offers legal and ethical reflections on the criminal qualification of a series of conducts ranging from human experimentation and non-consensual medical interventions to organ transplant trafficking and marketing of human body parts. It also considers procedural matters, notably related to psychiatric and medical evidence. In so doing, it combines legal and other types of conceptualizations to examine such contemporary issues as rights of the LGBTIQ population, access to medical care, corporate criminal liability, rights of children and Islamic jurisprudence.

Walter Bruyère-Ostells, Benoît Pouget, Michel Signoli, (dirs), Des chairs et des larmes: Combattre, souffrir, mourir dans les guerres de la Révolution et de l’Empire, 1792-1815, Presses Universitaires de Provence, 2020

Cet ouvrage éclaire les souffrances liées aux conditions de vie et de combat des militaires dans les guerres de la Révolution et de l’Empire. Il offre un véritable croisement de regards entre études d’historiens spécialistes de la période et résultats de chantiers de fouilles menés par des archéo-anthropologues spécialistes des contextes funéraires à recrutement militaire. On aborde de façon concrète les souffrances quotidiennes du soldat : le manque de nourriture, l’usure des corps à force de marches, l’exposition aux maladies ou la dure condition du prisonnier sont documentés par les “archives du sol” de l’anthropologue comme par les sources administratives et du for privé de l’historien.  Des campagnes vendéennes à Waterloo, en passant par la guérilla espagnole, cette publication réinterroge donc l’étude de la violence guerrière pendant les guerres de la Révolution & de l’Empire.

Benoit Pouget, Un choc de circulations: La puissance navale française face au choléra en Méditerranée, 1831-1856, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2020

Le choléra, « épreuve cruciale et révélatrice […] pour apprécier la valeur intellectuelle et le courage des officiers de santé de la Marine », selon l’expression de Jacques Léonard, met au défi la Marine française dans son ensemble. En proposant une étude sur la confrontation entre la puissance navale française en Méditerranée et la circulation du choléra entre 1831 et 1856, il s’agit de comprendre, essentiellement à travers un regard naval, comment ces épidémies constituent une formidable opportunité offerte à la France de s’affirmer comme une puissance sanitaire de premier plan.

23-28 novembre 2020 : Elisabeth Anstett, chairman panel «Transfunerario: avances sobre entierros colectivos y resiliencia en el postconflicto » , VI congreso de La Asociación Latinoamericana de Antropología, Montevideo (Uruguay)

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Caroline Fournet, ‘‘Face to face with horror’: The Tomašica Mass Grave and the Trial of Ratko Mladić’,(2020) 6(2)Human Remains and Violence 23-41


Benoît Pouget (dir.), “Dead Bodies at War” guest edited issue, Human Remains and Violence, an Interdisciplinary Journal, 2019, vol. 5, n°2, Full open access here. 




Benoît Pouget (dir.), “Des pertes de guerre, regards croisés des sciences historiques aux sciences forensiques”, dossier spécial de la Revue Historique des Armées, vol. 294, n°1. En consultation ici.




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A. Schmitt, E. Anstett (eds.) “Corpses in rubbish dumps”, Human Remains and Violence, an Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 5. n°1 (Spring 2019)

Pasados recientes, violencias actuales: Antropología forense, cuerpos y memorias (Spanish Edition) by [Silvia Dutrénit, Octavio Nadal]

Elisabeth Anstett, « Prefacio : desenterrar cuerpos, hacer preguntas», S. Dutrenit Bielous y O. Nadal Mendola (dirs). Pasados recientes, violencias actuales, antropologia forense, cuerpos y memorias, Mexico, CONACYT, 13-16.




Perpetrators of International CrimesTheories, Methods, and Evidence$

Caroline Fournet, ‘Nothing must remain: The (in)visibility of atrocity crimes and the perpetrators’ strategies using the corpses of their victims’ in Smeulers, Alette, Weerdesteijn, Maartje and Holá, Barbora (eds), Perpetrators of International Crimes – Theories, Methods, and Evidence, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019, 241-255.


12-13 December 2019 : Caroline Fournet, ‘‘Bones never lie and they never forget’ – The collection and use of medico-legal evidence in international criminal justice’, International Conference ‘The Global Sites of International Criminal Justice – Beyond, between and below the international criminal courts’, JustSites (Global Sites of International Criminal Justice) ERC-funded Project Start-Up Conference, University of Copenhaguen.

14-19 July 2019 : Caroline Fournet, ‘Corpus delicti – The corpses of the victims as evidence of mass atrocities’, 14th Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars: ‘“The Missing Picture”: Rethinking Genocide Studies & Prevention’, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

7 october 2019 : Elisabeth Anstett, « What is a mass grave? The Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide research program and its outputs”, Lecture given at the Political exhumations seminar conducted by Ewa Domanska and Alexandra Staniewska, Department of History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Institute of National Remembrance, Poznan (Pologne).

21 May 2019 : Caroline Fournet, ‘Contextos Jurídicos, Tribunales Penales Internacionales, Corte Penal Internacional’, Masterclass, Curso ‘Arqueología y Antropología de los conflictos armados’ ECOS-Sud/CNRS-Ades, 20-24 May 2019, Montevideo, Uruguay.

20 March 2019: Caroline Fournet : ‘La preuve médico-légale et la justice pénale internationale’; Antonio Cassese Initiative, Asser Institute and International Nuremberg Principles Academy, ‘Strengthening Domestic Capacity to Prosecute International and Transnational Crimes in Africa’/‘Renforcement des capacités des magistrats en matière de répression des crimes internationaux et transnationaux en Afrique : Formation de suivi’, 18-22 March 2019, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague, Netherlands.

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