EXC 2060 A3-1 - Deathscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean: Places of Memory and their Exploitation for Political Purposes
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Dealing with the dead and cultivating memoria are constants of the cultures and religions of premodern and modern times. This is accompanied by the view that the refusal and disturbance of the peace of the dead, especially in connection with violent annihilation or complete removal of graves, has negative connotations throughout. The term "deathscape", which was coined in the research fields of cultural-geographical sciences, is ideally suited to embed the phenomenon examined here due to its perspective breadth as a generic term. Both the location and organization of burial sites in the landscape as well as the social implications (from memorial practices to religious cult and veneration sites, e.g. of martyrs) are covered. In addition, graves can be used to make politics: On the one hand power is staged, on the other hand (political and sacred) authority can be damaged, hit or even extinguished by (destroying) it. This project focuses on the second aspect. Particularly in the contact zones between the Christian-influenced West and the adjacent Islamic-oriented religious cultures (primarily in Asia Minor and in the Middle East, i.e. in the eastern Mediterranean region), aggressions towards the burial culture of the others can be observed. Burial is refused, both Muslim and Christian cemeteries are desecrated, the erasure of the memory of genealogical traditions as well as the removal of memorial places are used as weapons on both sides. These phenomena can only be understood in communities of religions that carry out similar practices of remembrance of the dead.