conjurations in an effort to chart the entangled temporal, political, and intimate labor of responding to a loss that confronted an emergent community of survivors not only with the challenge of mourning a friend and/or role model, but also with the question of
Carnal Mourning under the Specter of Senselessness
Alice von Bieberstein
David McIvor’s Mourning in America and Simon Stow’s American Mourning
Greta Fowler Snyder
What does a democratically-productive form of mourning look like in America? David McIvor’s Mourning in America and Simon Stow’s American Mourning argue that it entails the embrace of ambivalence about self and other. Democratically-productive mourning pushes against the tendencies toward idealization and demonization. Embracing ambivalence enables us to move to more effective political engagement in the context of both collaboration and conflict. It allows us to understand that the process of mourning must be ongoing both to protect us from political excesses to which we are prone and to push society toward justice.
Death and Grief Rituals
Aref Abu-Rabia and Nibal Khalil
This article presents various mourning rituals and death rites as they are practised in Palestine. It focuses on differences in the mourning experience among fellahin and Bedouin Arabs but also shows certain parallels in their mourning and grieving customs. The article provides information on the prescribed set of rituals that Palestinians perform, beginning with how the body is treated and the way that it is prepared for burial. Combinations of mourning practices, which vary from rending one's garments to throwing earth on one's head, provide socially sanctioned expressions of grief and sorrow. Mourning practices differ between women and men: the former lament loudly and scratch their faces, while among the latter tears are neither encouraged nor welcomed. Parallels can be seen in these rituals with mourning for Palestine.
The article sketches the ruptures in today's German memory culture, concentrating on the Volkstrauertag (People's Day of Mourning) and the Gedenktag für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Remembrance Day for the Victims of National Socialism) on 27 January. It starts with an overview of the history of the Volkstrauertag with its (outward) transformation from a commemoration day for dead German soldiers into one for “all victims of war and violence.” The inclusive model of commemoration that was typical for the Bonn Republic is disintegrating today. In united Germany, the Volkstrauertag and 27 January reflect antagonistic memory strands, that is a memory focussed on the war dead and German suffering or on the Holocaust and German guilt. In light of discussions about commemorating Bundeswehr dead, the article ends by describing a re-heroicizing of the Volkstrauertag and, in a more general way, tries to outline the shifting construction of German national identity.
This article is an overview of the characteristics, history and the diffusion of the different types of Judeo-Spanish songs of mourning and dirges: Sephardic quinot in Judeo-Spanish for Tisha beab festivity, dirges for endechar (that is, to lament the death of a person), ballads used as songs of mourning and satirical dirges that were published in Sephardic newspapers at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Since their arrival in France in the early 1960s, former settlers of Algeria have developed an array of private and public “sites of memory” projects that have remained unnoticed in wider French society or have been interpreted uncharitably. This article offers a new perspective on these projects. Informed by Maurice Halbwachs' concern with the material supports for collective memory and Sigmund Freud's insights on loss, I reinterpret them as stages in a work of mourning, and offer new insights on the wider question of France's relationship to its colonial past.
Gideon M. Kressel, Sasson Bar-Zvi, and Aref Abu-Rabia
Human beliefs in resurrection and life after death, based on lasting exchanges between earth and heaven that prevail in human societies ubiquitously, are presented here and analysed with regard to the customs and rituals of the Negev Bedouin. The article looks at patterns of the mourning process and the different social functions and outcomes of that process. The influence of mystics and the Bedouin's views on death are discussed. Pre-Islamic burial practices and grave visits that reflect both legend and tradition are shown to be on the verge of change as they collide with proper Islam and modernity.
Lamenting and Photographing the Dead in Serbia, 1914–1941
This article is part of a larger research project on the political, cultural, and social implications of interwar Yugoslavia’s remembrance and mourning of its war dead. Es- chewing a focus on state-centered commemorative practices, this article focuses on two types of sources, laments of Serbian women and photographs by Serbian military photographers, as entry points into understanding the private, cultural, and religious arenas of Serbian wartime and interwar remembrances. Drawing on research examining the political uses of lament and grief, the article considers the role Serbian women played in controlling and directing the “passion of grief and anger” within their communities as they remembered the dead. The photographic evidence reveals that traditional death rituals and laments were performed and that these rituals were significant socio-political spaces where women, families, and communities of soldiers advanced claims for recognition of their wartime experiences and memories. However, the photographs themselves are sites of memory and this article examines how military photographers, acting on behalf of the state, sought to control the representation of grief and by doing so politicized and secularized the way grief was expressed. Placing these sources side by side illustrates the intermingling of forms of mourning and remembrance that existed not only in the Balkans, but also in many other communities throughout Europe, especially among its rural inhabitants.
Silvia M. Bell
Circularity, a salient theme in the film Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1999), is explored as a symbol that points to a consideration of issues central to psychic life. The movie sets up an expectation—two lives will be brought together to recreate a former blissful union, and complete a circle that defies finality, separation, and loss. It succeeds in creating a dialectic between two tensions, the experience of separateness where each person is a circle unto oneself, and the longing to be encircled with an "other" in a union that promises safety and permanence. The wish for fusion versus merger with the loved one is discussed in the context of traumatic loss and soul blindness. These early experiences interfere with healthy mourning and determine the reliance on magic and regressive compromise that contributes to a tragic outcome.
Have the Changes Instituted by the Progressive Movement Enhanced or Diminished Them?
This article describes the traditional Jewish laws and customs of mourning, translates and evaluates their psychological benefit and contribution to recovery from bereavement. It further investigates the influence of Progressive Judaism where its approach differs to that of traditional practice: does this enhance or diminish the psychological value of Jewish mourning rituals?