Contact: 	Suzanne Trimel					For immediate release
		(212) 854-6579					November 24, 1997

Anthropologist Katherine Verdery Examines Death and Politics in Columbia Lectures

Controversies over the corpses, burials and gravesites of national heroes in post-socialist Eastern Europe and Russia -- and what this means politically -- will be examined by the noted social scientist Katherine Verdery in three lectures the week of Dec. 1 at Columbia University. "Post-Socialist Necrophilia, or the Political Lives of Dead Bodies," is the title of the lecture series, which begins at 5:30 P.M., Monday, Dec. 1, with "Corpses on the Move," followed at the same time on Dec. 2 by "The Restless Bones of Inochentie Micu" and on Dec. 4 by "Resignifying the Dust." The lectures will be given in Casa Italiana, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue between West 116th and 118th Streets. A reception will follow the final lecture. The series is hosted by three Columbia affiliates, the Harriman Institute, the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America and Columbia University Press. The series will examine "the great frequency with which dead bodies have been manipulated in the post-Soviet bloc since 1989 and the politics underlying these manipulations," said Professor Verdery, one of the preeminent social scientists studying Eastern Europe today. These "manipulations," she said, include flying composer Bela Bartok back to Hungary from New York, and pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski to Warsaw from Arlington National Cemetery; digging up the body of Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy, turning him over and reburying him; arguments between Poland and Russia concerning the Polish officers massacred in Katyn forest during World War II, and arguments about the fate of Lenin's body -- should it be taken out of a mausoleum in Moscow and sent to St. Petersburg? The first lecture presents "a parade of dead bodies," showing how frequent reburials have been since 1989. Professor Verdery then offers some ideas about how to understand the reburials through the prism of national ideology, kinship and ancestor worship and notions of proper burial. In the second lecture, Professor Verdery will discuss the plans for reburying in Transylvania an 18th century bishop of the Greek-Catholic Church who is presently resting in Rome. The final lecture takes up the reburials of bodies in the former Yugoslavia. Professor Verdery's pioneering studies of ethno-national identity, "Transylvanian Villagers: Three Centuries of Political, Economic and Ethnic Change" (1983) and "National Ideology Under Socialism: Identity and Cultural Politics in Ceausescu's Romania" (1991), are highly regarded in the field. She is currently a fellow at the Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and will join the Anthropology Department of the University of Michigan next year. She taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1977 to 1997 after earning the Ph.D. at Stanford University. 11.24.97