Biological Anthropology Section
Society for Anthropological Sciences
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
In the wake of human rights violations, international pursuits of justice often summon a wide variety of forensic specialists and intervention programs to pursue large scale identification projects and humanitarian repatriation efforts. However, in these evidentiary-focused agendas, often framed in terms of transitional justice, scant attention has been paid to the current impacts of human remains in surviving communities, nor stakeholder perceptions of forensic intervention and what it would look like. Growing literature in science and technology studies and anthropologies of forensics question the role and impacts of forensic intervention after human rights atrocities. Long-standing beliefs assume that mass identification and repatriation are desired, however, this research interrogates notions of justice and alternative roles for forensic anthropologists engaging with surviving communities. Challenging long held assumptions about the role of forensic anthropology, this research is based on fieldwork conducted in Uganda with rural community members, non-profits, and forensic scientists. This community-based research has utilized, interviews, focus groups, observation of both rituals and forensic laboratories, archaeological site mapping, and capacity building exercises to inform potential forensic anthropological intervention. Findings reveal complex socio-political relationships with the living and the dead and multi-faceted conceptualizations of justice and science, revealing a need to re-evaluation international forensic intervention.