Gazing at death and the dead

Workshop report (by Linde Tuybens) The most dangerous person at a funeral is the body in the coffin –  Richard Cobb On May 5th and 6th, researchers from all over Europe and the USA met in Antwerp to explore a range of fascinating topics around death and the dead. An initiative of the Contested Bodies project, this workshopContinue reading “Gazing at death and the dead”

Breathing life into a body

by Kristof Smeyers Here is a story. One evening a nun sneaks down into the vault under a chapel. She has been contemplating this all day. She shivers: she is a little cold and more than a little nervous. It’s around nine o’clock and she is alone, but she doesn’t feel alone. In the cornerContinue reading “Breathing life into a body”

Stigma

by Linde Tuybens As historians, we can’t claim the exclusive right to tell the story of stigmatics. Other cultural products – books, films, theatre plays – are also shining light on their extraordinary lives. Recently, news has spread that American filmmaker Abel Ferrara is preparing a film on the early life of Padre Pio, allegedlyContinue reading “Stigma”

Weighing the body

by Kristof Smeyers The time has come now, at last, to talk truth. Our research on stigmata doesn’t directly engage with the possibility of the wounds’ divine or supernatural nature. As cultural historians (albeit from different angles) our interest is in the stigmata’s meaning to people in the past rather than in trying to prove or disprove,Continue reading “Weighing the body”

Transformations

by Kristof Smeyers The beast and the frog In 1916, as the First World War came to a standstill in the trenches of the western front, a great beast went hunting in the forests of New Hampshire, USA. The beast, an odd and disturbing creature by all accounts, stalked a frog. In The myth of disenchantment (pp. 159-160),Continue reading “Transformations”