Publications

These pages will include CRG publications and new books that will be of interest. Please do get in touch if you have books you would like to advertise here.

We will also be announcing new publications in the international series Routledge International Focus on Death and Funeral Practices. Texts are currently in production for New Zealand, Finland, the Northern Indian States, Japan and Norway.

If you would like to author a book in the series, contact:

julie.rugg@york.ac.uk and terry.clague@tandf.co.uk

Emerald Publishing published the first four books in the series (2018-22):

‘Clear and concise accounts…creating a repository of information on funeral practices and the legal, cultural, historical, and religious contexts in which the funeral practices were developed, changed, and maintained over the last century and a half’.

Dennis KlassOmega – Journal of Death and Dying.

 


Kapinės už miesto, miške. Katalikų laidojimo kraštovaizdžiai XIX a. Vilniuje

Bazaraite, E. (2024) Kapinės už miesto, miške. Katalikų laidojimo kraštovaizdžiai XIX a. Vilniuje, Vilnius: Lapas.

Cemeteries Beyond the City, in a Forest: Catholic Burial Landscapes in 19th-century Vilnius presents research on Roman Catholic burial landscapes in Vilnius during the early 19th century. Given the prevalence of Catholicism in Vilnius, the research examines three significant cemeteries – Rasos, Bernardine, and Saulės – as representative examples of the city’s dominant burial practices and spaces.

These cemeteries were established in compliance with the law of the Russian Empire, which mandated that cemeteries should be located outside the city limits. However, at the time of their creation, there was no established cemetery model to follow either from foreign examples or local practices. Moreover, the responsibility of burying and managing the burial landscape in Vilnius remained with religious institutions that lacked political power and financial resources. As a result, the cemeteries underwent organic development.

The analysis is conducted through the lens of Western European burial practices, with a particular focus on processes that took place in France, Italy, and Great Britain. The three case studies in Vilnius are examined as a set of spatial components within the broader historical, political, and cultural contexts of both the city and the wider region.

La vita sociale dei cimiteri

The book is the result of twenty years of anthropological research on cemeteries across continents, countries, and communities. Exploring the many ways cemetery are built, perceived and used – from ritual activities to educational ones, as well as naturalistic oasis and tourist sites – the volume reminds us that the cities of the dead are, in fact, built by the living for the living. Both anthropologists and the general public are invited to explore ancient graveyards, contemporary vertical cemeteries, and even virtual ones, as they all make it possible to better reflect on our cities, on our societies, on ourselves.

Just Enough to Put Him Away Decent

Kristine McCusker (2023) Just Enough to Put Him Away Decent: Death Care, Life Extension, and the Making of a Healthier South, 1900-1955, University of Illinois Press.

This book takes, as its focus, the combined history of death and health in the American South between 1900 and 1955. The text is ambitious in scope, and weaves together multiple oral histories to create a nuanced and engaging narrative. McCusker charts the ways in which low life expectancy in the South was regarded as problematic by commercial life insurance firms, concerned that their customers were paying insufficient dues before mortality provoked funeral expenditures, and the various Churches seeking to save souls before an untimely demise robbed them of the opportunity. Both agencies were heavily invested in health care. McCusker expertly weaves further threads into this complex narrative: Southern funeral practices, the theological basis  for strong belief in family re-union at death, and racial divides that created exclusions and opportunities for the Black Americans to express their own deathways, increasingly supported through commercial enterprise. Two World Wars test and refine common frameworks for organizing the dead, and McCusker underlines the importance, amongst other things, of etiquette guidance on the correct ways to grieve and to express condolence.

Visit the New Books Network to listen to Kristine McCusker discuss her book with Julie Rugg.

Grave History: Death, Race and Gender in Southern Cemeteries

K. Fletcher & A. Towle (2023) Grave History: Death, Race and Gender in Southern Cemeteries, Athens GA: University of Georgia Press.

Kami Fletcher and Ashley Towle’s edited collection demonstrates how Jim Crow laws extended into the realms of the dead. Cemeteries throughout the Southern states either relegated Black funerals to the margins in existing cemeteries or excluded the community altogether, often citing the excuse that inclusion would create unrest amongst white lot-holders, and disturb the peace of the cemetery. Burial spaces become demonstrative of oppression, but could also signal resistance to oppression. This impressive text provides an essential primer in African American cemetery history and illustrates how the Black community created frameworks of community support to ensure that homegoing services were dignified and affordable. Chapters also explore the historic importance of African American burial grounds, where grave markers are uniquely important to the recreation of otherwise poorly documented communities. The chapters also lean into the problems intrinsic to interpreting the material culture of oppression, where historic Black identities risk becoming fixed within narratives of victimhood.

The book includes workshop guidance for teachers, for use with students at all stages in the education process.

Visit the New Books Network to listen to Kami Fletcher and Ashley Towle discuss their book with Julie Rugg.

Image of the book cover

Des Morts qui Dérogent: Á L’Écart des Normes Funéraires XIXe-XXe siècles

Anne Carol & Isabelle Renaudet (eds) (2023) Des Morts qui Dérogent: Á L’Écart des Normes Funéraires XIXe-XXe siècles, Aix-en-Provence: Presses Universaires de Provence.

Since the nineteenth century, European societies have developed a funeral system that places the body at the centre of the care that the living give to the dead, and that revolves around the grave and the cemetery. However, bodies are sometimes deprived of this care, or its implementation is disrupted, whether intentionally or not. This book uses a number of exemplary cases to offer a panorama of the dead who deviate from the funerary norm.

These departures from the norm may stem from the marginal or exceptional status of the dead: stillbirths, executed criminals, anonymous deaths, political icons; in other cases, they may stem from the anomalous circumstances in which death occurred: wartime, epidemics, industrial disasters or massacres; finally, the a-normality may lie at the heart of the very practices of which the body is the target: necrophilia, cremation, exhumation, burial outside the cemetery.

For each of these cases, the texts gathered here will seek to show how the funeral process is suspended, deviated from, degraded or even subverted, and to assess the impact of these dissidences on contemporary sensibilities; but also to identify the efforts, however minimal, to repair and re-establish a semblance of normality in funerals, and to identify the actors involved in both cases.

The text is in French.

Death and Funeral Practices in Poland

Anna E. Kubiak, Anna Długozima & Agnieszka Wedeł-Domardzka (2023) Death and Funeral Practices in Poland, London: Routledge.

New Perspectives on Urban Deathscapes

D. House & M. Westendorp w. A. Maddrell (eds) (2023) New Perspectives on Urban Deathscapes: Continuity, Change and Contestation, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Establishing a new set of international perspectives on experiences of death, disposition and remembrance in urban environments, this book brings deathscapes – material, embodied and emotional places associated with dying and death – to life. It pushes the boundaries of established empirical and conceptual understandings of death in urban spaces through anthropological, geographical and ethnographic insights.

Death and Funeral Practices in Portugal

Rafaela Ferraz Ferreira, Ana Júlia Almeida Miranda & Francisco Queiroz (2022) Death and Funeral Practices in Portugal, London: Routledge.

 

The Funeral of Mr. Wang: Life, Death, and Ghosts in Urbanizing China

Kipnis, A. B. (2021) The Funeral of Mr. Wang: Life, Death and Ghosts in Urbanizing China, Oakland CA: University of California Press.

This text examines social change in urbanizing China through the lens of funerals, the funerary industry, and practices of memorialization. It analyzes changes in family life, patterns of urban sociality, transformations in economic relations, the politics of memorialization, and the echoes of these changes in beliefs about the dead and ghosts.

Listen to Andrew Kipnis discuss his book with anthropologist Suvi Rauto on the New Books Network.

Death and Funeral Practices in Russia

Sergei Mokhov (2022) Death and Funeral Practices in Russia, London: Routledge.

Funerary Practices in Serbia

Aleksandra Pavićević (2021) Funerary Practices in Serbia, Emerald Insight: Bingley.

Funerary Practices in the Czech Republic

Olga Nešporova (2020) Funerary Practices in the Czech Republic, Emerald Insight: Bingley.

 

 

The Chinese Deathscape: Grave Reform in Modern China

Mullaney, Thomas S. (ed.) (2019) The Chinese Deathscape: Grave Reform in Modern China, Stamford University Press.

This remarkable interactive publication is readable online and combines narrative analysis, visualized data and dynamic maps.

Visit the New Books Network to listen to Thomas S. Mullaney discuss Chinese funeral practices with Kristian Peterson.

Book cover showing a blossom tree and headstones

Érwige Ruhe? Concessions à perpétuite?

S. Kmec, R.L. Philippart & A. Reuter (eds) (2019) Érwige Ruhe? Concessions à perpétuite? Grabkulturen in Luxemburg und den Nachbarregionen/Cultures funéraires au Luxembour et dans les regions voisines, Luxemburg: Capybara Books.

Death is part of human existence, in the world, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and in its neighbouring regions. But what happens afterwards? Where and how are the dead prepared for eternal rest? Would this rest be truly eternal? Not at all. The mortal remains of some deceased leave on a journey – sometimes even on several occasions. No wonder, then, that for centuries, law and religion were preoccupied with death and the afterlife, as is literature, cinema, and the material arts. This book brings together 49 texts devoted to the subject of funerary art, the iconography of death, letters, the natural phenomena that death represents, faith and law. This book represents an overview of the different types of funerals and burial customs through the ages whilst distinguishing these practices in the light of different religious confessions and their very specific funeral rites.

Chapters are in English, French and German.

 

Funerary Practices in England and Wales

Julie Rugg & Brian Parsons (2018) Funerary Practices in England and Wales, Bingley: Emerald.

 

Is the Cemetery Dead?

Sloane, D. C. (2018) Is the Cemetery Dead? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Visit the New Books Network to listen to David Charles Sloane discuss his book with Michael O’ Johnson .

Cemetery and Churchyard: Tradition and Modernity in Rural North Yorkshire

Julie Rugg (2013) Cemetery and Churchyard: Tradition and Modernity in Rural North Yorkshire, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

This key text explains the operation of the Burial Acts in England by tracing the history of burial in over 200 villages and towns in rural North Yorkshire. 

‘Anyone bent on writing seriously about almost any aspect of burial ground provision in England and Wales from the 1850s onwards will ignore this book at their peril.’

Stephen White, Ecclesiastical Law Journal.

Purchase the hardback via a local independent bookstore at the reduced cost of £30

Grave Memorials as Cultural Heritage in Western Sweden

Gustavsson, A. (2014) Grave Memorials as Cultural Heritage in Western Sweden with a Focus on the 1800s. A Study of Materials, Society, Inscribed Texts and Symbols, Oslo: Novus Forlag.

 

The objective of this book is to study grave memorials as cultural expressions of the time in which they were erected. The period under study extends from the early 1800s, when permanent grave memorials began to be erected at cemeteries in Sweden, to the 1900s. The analysis concentrates on the following aspects of the topic: materials, social differences, gender, age, view on life/afterlife, protection, anonymity-collectivity-individuality. As a result of the analysis of messages on grave memorials, the author also addresses cultural heritage issues: what should be selected and defined as cultural heritage and thus should be preserved and made available for posterity?

Cultural Studies on Death and Dying in Scandinavia

Gustavsson, A. (2011) Cultural Studies on Death and Dying in Scandinavia, Oslo: Novus Press.

Anders Gustavsson, (b. 1940), professor of cultural history at the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, 1997-2010 and senior professor since 2011. PhD from the University of Lund, 1972, then reader in ethnology at Lund, part time also in Gothenburg and Bergen; professor of ethnology, University of Uppsala, 1987-1997. His research has concerned popular religion, popular movements with emphasis on temperance and revivalistic movements, coastal culture, cultural meetings, tourism, border cultures, rites of passage, gravestone symbolism, memorial internet websites, popular paintings, fieldwork methodology, etc. This text brings together papers delivered at the International Society for Folk Narrative ­Research, SIEF (The Society Inter­national of Ethnology and Folklore) and NNT (Nordic Network of Thanatology) and translated into English.