Death, Modernity, and the Body: Sweden 1870-1940

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University Rochester Press, 2009 - Science - 215 pages
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Originally published in Swedish in 2002, Death, Modernity, and the Body explores the impact of modernization on customs and practices of treating the dead body in Sweden in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when intense social and cultural change transformed the country from an agricultural society to a modern industrial state. The book focuses on five arenas: medical research and education, displays of the dead body for entertainment purposes, funerary preparations of the body, memorial photography, and cremation. hr n takes an original approach to the history of death in modern society by focusing on the dead body in intersecting cultural domains. Medical, scientific and technological history are thereby connected to popular culture, social and political history, as well as ethnography and anthropology. The scholarly literature on the history of death is disproportionately focused on the Anglophone world, France, and Germany; this study contributes to the scholarship by examining the case of Sweden, where modernization was exceptionally rapid and pervasive, and full of interesting particularities. Eva hr n is a Research Fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department for the History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University, Sweden, and a Research Associate at Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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On the Usefulness of the Dead
Death on Display
Preparing the Dead Body
Picturing the Dead
A farewell gathering in the village of Djura Dalecarlia ca 1900
Open casket farewell scene from the village of Utanmyra Dalecarlia 1908
A little girls casket on two sawhorses in a garden Värmland n d
A young boy and his sailboat Stockholm 1905
Death portrait in calling card format Mariefred ca 1896
A crematorium in crosssection 1888
Purifying Flames
Cover of the first issue of Meddelanden från Svenska Libränningsföreningen 1883
Crosssection of a cremation furnace 1887
Crosssection of a modern urn grave ca 1920
Abjection and Modern Rituals

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About the author (2009)

Eva Ahren is a research fellow and assistant professor in the Department for the History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

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