Dying Abroad: The Political Afterlives of Migration in Europe

Political Theory Seminar, May 30th, 14-16, CSS 4.2.50 Kristiania
“Dying Abroad: The Political Afterlives of Migration in Europe”
Osman Balkan, University of Pennsylvania

On any given day, the remains of countless deceased migrants are shipped around the world to be buried in ancestral soils. Others are laid to rest in countries of settlement, sometimes in cemeteries established for religious and ethnic minorities, where available. For immigrants and their descendants, perennial questions about the meaning of home and homeland take on a particular gravitas in death. When the boundaries of a nation and its members are contested, burial decisions are political acts. Building on multi-sited fieldwork in Berlin and Istanbul – where the author worked as an undertaker – Dying Abroad offers a moving and powerful account of migrants' end-of-life dilemmas, vividly illustrating how they are connected to ongoing political struggles over the stakes of citizenship, belonging, and collective identity in contemporary Europe.