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Jail for the Dead: How New York City Buries the Unclaimed

September 25, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM


Heyman Center, Common Room

Event Type: 

Jail for the Dead: How New York City Buries the Unclaimed
Wednesday, September 25th - 5 PM
Heyman Center Common Room

A conversation with Thomas Laqueur (UC Berkeley) and Melinda Hunt (The Hart Island Project). Please register here. 

A century and a half ago, New York began burying unclaimed bodies in mass graves using prison labor. On Hart Island, in the Long Island Sound, more than one million such burials have taken place. Changes wrought by the Civil War account for a sustained para-military handling of the dead as well as an increased role for physicians and diminished religious presence. For this event, the historian Thomas Laqueur joins Melinda Hunt, President of the Hart Island Project, in conversation—about the history of the potter’s field, as well as the work of the Project to document the dead, and win visitation rights for families.


This eventis cosponsored by the Department of History, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities.


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