series event

Ecologies of remembrance: Situating the afterlives of migrant dead at sea in Italy (1997-2019)

As part of the LSHTM Medical Anthropology Seminar Series, we will hear a presentation from Dr Vanessa Grotti about migrants, their deaths and their afterlives.

Portrait of Dr Vanessa Grotti, University of Bologna
Dr Vanessa Grotti, University of Bologna. Photo credit: Dr Vanessa Grotti.

This presentation is based on data Dr Vanessa Grotti has collected in collaboration with Naor Ben-Yehoyada, Anthropology, Columbia University and Marc Brightman, Cultural Heritage, University of Bologna for a small, multi-sited ethnographic research project funded by the Wenner-Gren foundation which started in 2018 and will end later this year. Their aim is to analyse anthropologically the maritime, forensic and mortuary practices (performed at sea and on land) linked to the material, social and ritual management of unidentified migrant human remains in Italy.  

Dr Vanessa Grotti will introduce the regional migration context, and the reasons why focusing on the receiving, ‘host’ country raises interesting questions for the anthropology of death, the body and materiality. She will then present the specific maritime tragedies which frame the project (with a specific focus on my field research in southern Italy and Albania) and how they are connected, before reflecting on how these different fields converge and participate in contemporary regional and national processes of memorialisation and patrimonialisation of the migrant dead in the Mediterranean.   

This seminar will be of interest to those engaged with borders, migrants, bodies, death.


Dr Vanessa Grotti is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna. She is a social and medical anthropologist with long-term ethnographic field experience in Lowland South America and the Mediterranean. She recently concluded a European Research Council-funded project entitled EU Border Care which examined migration and reproductive care in EU borderlands. She has published on medicine and colonialism, gender and reproductive health, migration and borderlands, personhood, animism and material culture, and forensics and memorialisation.  

Her most recent publications include Migrant Hospitalities in the Mediterranean: Encounters with Alterity in Birth and Death (co-edited with Marc Brightman, Palgrave, 2021) and Nurturing the Other: First Contacts and the Making of Christian Bodies in Amazonia (Berghahn, 2022). 


Please note that the recording link will be listed on this page when available 


Follow webinar link. Free and open to all. No registration required.


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