Laura Shannon Prize Winner

Laqueur Work Of The Dead

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Publication Year: 2015

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The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains

by Thomas W. Laqueur

2018 Award in Humanities

Jury Statement

The dead matter to us; they always have. But, as Thomas W. Laqueur demonstrates in The Work of the Dead, why and how the dead matter has changed over time. Subtitled A Cultural History of Mortal Remains, this fascinating book transcends a focus on any one country, state, people, or historical moment to consider how and why the living have cared for the dead from antiquity through the twentieth century. In clear and graceful prose, Laqueur examines his subject matter through lenses that are at times anthropological, historical, and philosophical in nature. The depth and breadth of his scholarship are particularly noteworthy. A monumental achievement, The Work of the Dead contains a vast reservoir of historical information and insights regarding cultural practices surrounding the treatment of the dead that scholars from many disciplines will draw upon for years to come.

Lecture: “Bodies Visible and Invisible: Nationalism and the Necro-Politics of the Jewish Cemetery in Modern Thessaloniki”

Final Jury

James Chandler
Barbara E. & Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities
University of Chicago

William Collins Donahue
John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C. Professor of the Humanities
University of Notre Dame

Dennis Doordan
Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Design
University of Notre Dame

Heather Dubrow
John D. Boyd, S.J. Chair in the Poetic Imagination
Fordham University

Mark Lilla
Professor of Humanities
Columbia University