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Mirrors of Passing
Unlocking the Mysteries of Death, Materiality, and Time
Edited by Sophie Seebach and Rane Willerslev
326 pages, large format 8.5in x 11in, 102 color illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78533-908-0 $179.00/£132.00 / Hb / Published (August 2018)
ISBN 978-1-78533-894-6 $59.95/£47.95 / Pb / Published (August 2018)
eISBN 978-1-78533-895-3 eBook
“In Mirrors of Passing, Seebach and Willerslev have successfully revealed novel ways of approaching death from the perspectives of time, materiality and the social role of the dead. While, as they admit, no final concluding statement about the relationships between death, materiality and time appear possible, this edited collection does not require one. The value of this text comes not from any one particular statement, but from the range of perspectives it offers and what these perspectives can themselves offer those persons wishing to understand death beyond the assumptions about it that are hidden in modern life. This volume is highly relevant for anyone interested in cultural anthropology, social anthropology, museum studies, religious studies or sociological studies of death.” • JASO
“This volume is especially relevant for scholars and students concerned with the ethical role of museums as caretakers of our religious material and physical (human) remains as well as for those interested in broader questions of how death, time, and materiality impact human conceptions of spirit and place. Its value for scholars of religious studies lies in its non-Western focus, as it provides—in one volume—a significant contribution to the scholarship on death and conceptions of the afterlife from contemporary indigenous cultures around the world.” • Reading Religion
“Ambitious and engaging, the essays in this volume demonstrate how diverse conceptions of time, in relation to death, are present across history, geography, and media. Beginning with the first chapter’s enchanting examination of a James Joyce story, and continuing through the various ethnographies, the contributors have provided us with new ways of engaging with some familiar themes.” • Barbara Graham, author of Death, Materiality, and Mediation: An Ethnography of Remembrance in Ireland
Without exception, all people are faced with the inevitability of death, a stark fact that has immeasurably shaped societies and individual consciousness for the whole of human history. Mirrors of Passing offers a powerful window into this oldest of human preoccupations by investigating the interrelationships of death, materiality, and temporality across far-flung times and places. Stretching as far back as Ancient Egypt and Greece and moving through present-day locales as diverse as Western Europe, Central Asia, and the Arctic, each of the richly illustrated essays collected here draw on a range of disciplinary insights to explore some of the most fundamental, universal questions that confront us.
Sophie Seebach holds a doctorate from Aarhus University. Her recent publications include pieces in the edited collection Mortuary Rites, Memory, and Authority/Agency: The Anthropology of Death in the Early Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and, with Lotte Meinert and Rane Willerslev, in the journal Africa.
Rane Willerslev holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. His numerous books and publications include On the Run in Siberia (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), Taming Time, Timing Death: Social Technologies and Ritual (edited with Dorthe R. Christensen, Ashgate, 2013), and Transcultural Montage (edited with Christian Suhr, Berghahn, 2013).
Subject: Anthropology (General) Cultural Studies (General) Anthropology of Religion
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