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Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme

 

When political power is asserted or contested, the dead and their afterlives regularly make an appearance. Promises of martyrdom have fuelled suicide attacks around the globe, including in Europe. Celebrated martyrs have the capacity to mobilise communities and inspire upheaval. Yet we know too little about the appeal, mechanisms and effects of political martyrdom, whether religious or secular. To address this lacuna, this project investigates the role that martyrdom plays in the ongoing Kurdish conflict. Through ethnographic research, it explores how dead bodies are transformed into politically potent martyr figures through a variety of narrative, visual, digital and material means. In this way, the project seeks to conceptualise afterlives as central sites for the constitution, performance and contestation of political power and community. 

This project is funded by a British Academy Newton International Fellowship. 

Principal Investigator

Dr Marlene Schäfers

Publications

An initial publication from the project is a peer-reviewed thematic thread on Afterlives on the online publication platform Allegra Lab (published in May 2020), curated and with an introduction by Dr Marlene Schäfers. 

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