LaShaya Howie @ US Locations

“The Body Is The Bride ”

LaShaya Howie | PhD Candidate, Anthropology

Discussant: Angel Boulware | PhD Student, Comparative Human Development

Friday, February 12th, 12:00-1:20pm

 for zoom password and paper email

Paper Abstract: This dissertation chapter explores the dead body in contemporary American funeral service. I argue that the body is a defining feature of Black funeral practices with particular emphasis on its visual presentation. With ethnographic attention to the processes and discourses surrounding the preparation and presentation of the body for services and disposition, I theorize the corpse as an object-subject and a medium onto which aesthetics and ethics of authenticity, propriety, and restoration are projected. The chapter ends with the proliferation of cremation in the US, which has unsettled the body’s status. Funeral professionals understand this shift to be representative of a more widespread abandoning of long-standing funeral traditions, with arguably, deeper social and spiritual ramifications.

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