Department of Social & Policy Sciences

CDAS Conference 2017, 'Death at the Margins of the State'

Fri Jun 09 10:29:00 BST 2017

Date: 9th & 10th June 2017
Location: The Edge, University of Bath

This event is part of the University of Bath's 50th Anniversary Celebrations and is being supported by the 50th Anniversary Fund. 

Human beings typically grant appropriate death rites to those deemed members of the community; withholding of proper rites often reflects or symbolises exclusion from the political or moral community. The history of dissection, for example, bears witness to this.

Today, the concept of ‘ human’ extends in theory to everyone regardless of nationality, gender, abilities, etc, yet in practice citizenship (legal or moral) may for many be precarious or lacking. The stateless and/or those lacking full citizen rights may include asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, those on the wrong side in civil wars, victims of genocide, prisoners, travellers, foetuses, and those deemed to lack mental capacity: their deaths may be endorsed, ignored, stigmatised, or manipulated by the state or powerful institutions. By contrast, those who die to create or defend the state become sacred heroes of the nation. Death and the state are intimately connected, each helping – through inclusion and exclusion - to define the other.

  • What deaths and whose deaths are denied respect?
  • How, why, and with what consequences for defining ‘us and them’, ‘human and non-human’?
  • How do those without citizenship die and how are they disposed of and mourned?
  • How do funerals mark lives deemed worthless? 
  • How are marginalised deaths and the bodies of the marginalised dead exploited – by politicians, media, medicine, museums, and the global trade in body parts and ancient human remains?

CDAS annual conferences bring together research and knowledge that has hitherto been fragmented. We invite scholars and practitioners from around the world willing to engage openly with and learn from different disciplines and perspectives.

Keynote Speaker 

Our keynote speaker for Conference 2017 is Prof. Antonius C.G.M. Robben, Professor of Anthropology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and past President of the Netherlands Society of Anthropology. 

Prof. Robben received his Ph.D. (1986) from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been a research fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows, Ann Arbor, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and the David Rockefeller Center, Harvard University.

His books include the ethnography Political Violence and Trauma in Argentina (2005), which won the Textor Prize from the American Anthropological Association in 2006 for Excellence in Anthropology, and the forthcoming monograph Southern Sorrows: Trust, Memory, and Mourning in Argentina. His edited books include Death, Mourning, and Burial: A Cross-Cultural Reader (Blackwell 2004), and Necropolitics: Mass Graves and Exhumations in the Age of Human Rights (2015; co-edited with Francisco Ferrándiz).



Booking is now open for the conference at £140 for both days, £75 for a single day via the University of Bath Online Store.

The cost has been kept as low as possible for all participants so there is no discounted registration for students or non-academics. Tickets include lunch and refreshments, attendance at all sessions on the days you have registered, and a delegate pack.  

We can cater for dietary and access requirements as long as we have sufficient notice, please include details when booking.

Payment is by credit/debit card or PayPal only.

We can offer a refund or exchange up to 14 days in advance of the conference. After this date, we will be unable to refund your conference fee as we will be charged for your attendance.

If you have any questions about your booking, please contact us at

University of Bath staff and students only - It is possible to pay by internal transfer, please contact to arrange with your account number.


Further information


The conference will be held on campus in The Edge at the University of Bath. The University has excellent public transport links (information available via the University website) and car parking tickets will be available to purchase with your conference registration. 

Social events

CDAS Conferences usually begin with a gathering in a local pub the evening before the conference starts so you can get to meet your fellow delegates in relaxed surroundings. A conference dinner is also organised for the evening of Day 1 so you can continue your discussions. Both events are always hugely popular, partners and friends are welcome and CDAS staff and students will be on hand so you can get to know us a little better too. You will be asked when booking to indicate whether you are likely to attend these events and we will book a table somewhere accordingly. Payment for both these events is on the day.


We are unable to offer accommodation on campus this year due to the timing of the conference, so you will need to book somewhere in town. Bath has a large range of accommodation to suit every taste and budget, and it is only a short bus ride to campus from the city centre. 

We recommend contacting Visit Bath who can help you find something suitable, or you can book online via their web system. If you are looking for a hostel, you can also check HostelWorld who specialise in this kind of accomdation. You can also try  AirB&B which have an ever increasing number of properties in and around Bath for short term rent. 

If you get stuck, please contact us for our recommendations.