Keep the Bones Alive: Missing People and the Search for Life in Brazil Book talk by Graham Denyer Willis, Professor of Global Politics and Society in the Dept of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge
Dr Denyer Willis will read from his forthcoming book, “Keep the Bones Alive” (University of California Press). Every year at least 20,000 people go missing in São Paulo, Brazil. Many will be found, sometimes in mundane mass graves, but thousands are not. Keep the Bones Alive explores this phenomenon and why there is little concern for those who vanish. Ethnographer Graham Denyer Willis works beside family members, state workers, and gravediggers to examine the rationalization behind why bodies are missing in space, including cemeteries, the criminal coroner's office, and prisons. By following the bereaved as they confront an indifferent state and suspicious society and search for loved ones against all odds, this gripping book reveals where missing bodies go and the reasons why people can disappear without being pursued. Recognizing that disappearance has long been central to Brazil's everyday political order, with some people pursued and others not, this humanistic account of the silences surrounding disappearance shows why a demand for a politics of life is needed more than ever.