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Abusing the Corpse: Understanding Necrophilia Laws in the USA

August 20, 2014 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

| $8

Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 20
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

In September 2006, Wisconsin police discovered Nicholas Grunke, Alexander Grunke and Dustin Radtke digging into the grave of a recently deceased woman. Upon questioning by police, Alexander Grunke explained that the three men wanted to exhume the body for sexual intercourse. In the Wisconsin state court system, the three men were charged with attempted third-degree sexual assault and attempted theft. None of the men could be charged with attempted necrophilia, however, since the state of Wisconsin had no law making necrophilia illegal.

What the Wisconsin case exposed was the following gap in American jurisprudence: many states have no law prohibiting necrophilia. This talk on American necrophilia laws argues that human corpses and the laws that govern the use of dead bodies are uniquely positioned to cause precisely these legal discrepancies since the dead body is a quasi-subject before the law.

This examination also presents an argument about one of the fundamental reasons that this gap in American law exists. Specifically, Troyer will argue that the ambiguous juridical standing of the human corpse in necrophilia cases compounds the sexual monstrousness of the necrophiliac and of necrophilic acts.

Dr. John Troyer is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. His interdisciplinary research focuses on contemporary memorialization practices, concepts of spatial historiography, and the dead body’s relationship with technology. Dr. Troyer is also a theatre director and installation artist with extensive experience in site-specific performance across the United States and Europe. He is a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk website (http://www.deathreferencedesk.org), the Future Cemetery Project (http://www.futurecemetery.com) and a frequent commentator for the BBC. His forthcoming book, Technologies of the Human Corpse (published by the University of North Carolina Press), will appear in 2015.

Image: “The Anatomist (Der Anatom),” Gabriel von Max, 1869

**All tickets are will call**

Please note: refunds issued only if event is cancelled.


August 20, 2014
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
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