Digging for the Disappeared
Forensic Science After Atrocity
Stanford University Press 2015
Do dead bodies have human rights?
This is one of many fascinating questions Adam Rosenblatt asks in his compelling new book Digging for the Disappeared: Forensic Science After Atrocity (Stanford University Press, 2015)
Rosenblatt, a faculty member at Haverford College, doesn’t try to recount the emergence of forensic science in investigating mass violence. Instead, he’s really interested in examining the political, ethical and philosophical questions that surround the study of dead bodies in the aftermath of atrocities. His book is a thought examination of these questions. He considers how the interests of the various constituents of forensic investigations often clash. He thinks about the way in which dead bodies become political footballs. He considers how to balance the sometime competing claims of religion, lawyers and politicians to human remains. And he asks how best to recognize the rights of the dead. Digging for the Disappeared is a rich, introspective and thoughtful treatment of an increasingly important subject.