Twentieth-century war is a unique cultural phenomenon and the last two decades have seen significant advances in our ability to conceptualize and understand the past and the character of modern technological warfare. At the forefront of these developments has been the re-appraisal of the human body in conflict, from the ethics of digging up First World War bodies for television programmes to the contentious political issues surrounding the reburial of Spanish Civil War victims, the relationships between the war body and material culture (e.g. clothing, and prostheses), ethnicity and identity in body treatment, and the role of the ‘body as bomb’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

Focused on material culture, Bodies in Conflict revitalizes investigations into the physical and symbolic worlds of modern conflict and that have defined us as subjects through memory, imagination, culture and technology. The chapters in this book present an interdisciplinary approach which draws upon, but does not privilege archaeology, anthropology, military and cultural history, art history, cultural geography, and museum and heritage studies. The complexity of modern conflict demands a coherent, integrated, and sensitized hybrid approach which calls on different disciplines where they overlap in a shared common terrain - that of the materiality of conflict and its aftermath in relation to the human body. Bodies in Conflict brings together the diverse interests and expertise of a host of disciplines to create a new intellectual engagement with our corporeal nature in times of conflict.

chapter |8 pages


ByNicholas J. Saunders, Paul Cornish

chapter 1|13 pages

Unlawful Wounding

Codifying interaction between bullets and bodies
ByPaul Cornish

chapter 2|17 pages

Bodies in Trees

A matter of being in Great War landscapes
ByNicholas J. Saunders

chapter 4|13 pages

Men in Pain

Silence, stories and soldiers' bodies
ByAna Carden-Coyne

chapter 5|14 pages

‘Bringing the Dead Home'

Repatriation, illegal repatriation and expatriation of British bodies during and after the First World War
ByDominiek Dendooven

chapter 6|11 pages

‘White Graves' and Natives

The Imperial War Graves Commission in East and West Africa, 1918–1939
ByMichèle Barrett

chapter 8|19 pages

Exposing those Who Bury the Dead

A new perspective in modern conflict archaeology
ByStephanie Spars

chapter 9|11 pages

Lost and Found in Flanders Fields

An anthropological and archaeological study of human remains from the A19 Project, Ypres, Belgium
ByPedro Pype, Janiek De Gryse

chapter 10|11 pages

‘Token Scraps of Men'

White lies, weighted coffins, and Second World War air-crash casualties
ByGabriel Moshenska

chapter 12|13 pages

In their Shoes

Conservation and display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum*
ByHelen Evans

chapter 13|15 pages

Absent Bodies

The fate of the vanquished in the Spanish Civil War
ByAlfredo González-Ruibal

chapter 14|15 pages

Warrior Bodies in Ambiguous Conflict

Remembering Vietnam with Blackfeet memories
BySarah Farman

chapter 15|9 pages

My Closest Enemy

ByKhaled Al-Berry

chapter 16|11 pages

Skilful Movements

The evolving Commando
ByMark Burchell