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Do Dead People Speak Different Languages: An Interdisciplinary Séance
MRIC 2008/09

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"Do Dead People Speak Different Languages: An Interdisciplinary Séance"

October 14th 
Melanie-Angela Neuilly - Sociology, Anthropology, and Justice Studies

Abstract: Even though death is inevitable, it could be argued that it is not universal. For example, whereas French people are seemingly incredibly clumsy, Americans are world-renown for their blood-thirst (lethal non-motor vehicle accident rates in France are close to double that of the United States, while homicide rates in the U.S. can be as much as ten times those of France). Having spent some time with the dead in France and in the United States, the author has begun to disentangle the complex net of constructions at play in mortality statistics. In doing so, she has had to put on a variety of disciplinary hats, be they from the legal field, political science, medicine, sociology, anthropology, criminology, or psychology. Some may have fit better than others, but in the end, the answer was clear: Dead people do speak different languages.

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