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Webiar Series 1 - Talk 1

Winter Webinar Series:
Notes from Aboveground: A Deathnography

Date: 17 February 2023 (Friday)

Time: 9-10 AM GMT (10-11 AM CET, 5-6 PM HKT)
Notes from Aboveground: A Deathnography
Speaker: Lisa Ann Senecal 
(PhD Candidate (Migrations, Anthropology), Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon)

(Thanatic Ethics PhD Fieldwork Travel Grant Recipient for 2022)



This presentation is based on the data collection trips I made to Malta between the Summer of 2021 and the Fall of 2022, in particular to the Santa Maria Addolorata Cemetery in Paula, Malta, where there are currently four unidentified bodies buried in Common Grave 159 as well as to the Islamic Cemetery. I will provide an account of the steps that I took following a process I call “Deathnograhy” (Senecal, 2020) and the challenges that I encountered in locating Unidentified Body 153, Unidentified Body 155, Unidentified Body 156 and Unidentified Body 157. My hope is that this presentation allows me introduce, clarify, advance and interpret some of the most significant empirical data that I have collected for Deathnography via exchanges and interviews with different ‘agents of the border’ and connect this study with two others that I am conducting to learn more about the Regime of Borders in Malta. My patchwork (Günel, Varma, & Watanabe, 2020) approach to this ethnography leaves much unfinished and unresolved while still allowing me to approach some important questions: What is significant about border deaths in Malta? How are border deaths treated and understood in Malta? How do border deaths relate to borders? And what do border deaths reveal about borders? 

About the speaker:

Lisa Ann Senecal is a PhD Candidate (Migrations, Anthropology) at ICS-ULisboa. Her research centers around the intersection of race, class, and migratory spaces. Her research focuses on antiracism, inequality, noncitizenship, representations, cultural transformation, and mobility justice as these concepts intersect within a regime of borders and/or in border spaces. By centering the Mediterranean/European/North-South continuum, her project aims to map the Maltese border by teasing apart structural aspects of the border from its embodied aspects with an emphasis on noncitizen subjectivities – that is the actual experience of borders.

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