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CALL. 25.03.2020: [PANEL 27] "Ancient Necropolitics: Politicizing Death and the Dead in Ancient




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Coimbra (Coimbra, Portugal)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Marion Meyer (Vienna, Austria); Efimia Karakantza (Patras, Greece) ; Alexandros Velaoras (Patras, Greece)

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Necropolitics is a fairly new concept, first defined in 2003 by postcolonial political thinker Achille Mbembe, resting heavily on the Foucauldian notions of biopolitics. So far, these concepts have been used in the discussion of contemporary politics by Political Scientists and Social Anthropologists exploring the politicisation of death and the treatment of the dead bodies in a way targeting the dishonouring, disciplining, and punishment of the living. Although Classicists’ interest in death has always been keen, the concepts of biopolitics and necropolitics have not been applied in the study of ancient Greek culture yet.

The purpose of this panel is to approach Greek Antiquity through the conceptual lens of necropolitics in order to explore the political dimension death had already acquired. We firmly believe that this will shed new light on Greek Antiquity and lead to fresh political readings.

We invite contributions from the fields of Classics, History, Archaeology, Social Anthropology, Political and Social Sciences discussing various aspects of death through the conceptual lens of necropolitics/necropower:

  • burial practices and ideologies

  • politics and technologies of lamentation

  • gender-related necropolitical violence

  • honourable and dishonourable (mass) burials

  • commemoration of the dead (interests and regulations)

  • diverging interests behind the ceremonies and monuments (public/private; male/ female; status groups)

  • the maltreatment of corpses

  • denial or withholding of burial to traitors and other categories of dead

  • (non)grievable lives

  • “humiliated and insulted dead”

In sum, any aspect which could be considered as exertion of political power on the dead. Suggestions for further topics are welcome.

We welcome contributions in English. In order to allow enough time for discussion, your paper should not exceed 20 minutes.

Please send your proposal, including an abstract of 250 words and 5 to 10 keywords, to all three organizers of the panel (, karakantza@upatras.grand by September 30, 2020.

Don’t forget to include your affiliation. You will hear from us very soon after that date.

Conference website:

Our panel is no. 27. There you will find theoretical considerations for our approach and goal(“Tracing the Emergence of Necropolitics” and “Tracing Necropolitics in Ancient Greece”) .

NB: All participants will be required to pay a registration fee; please check the conference website.

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