Ideas from the Trenches - The Living Dead

A 3,000 year old mummy as displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum. Photo credit: ROM.

A 3,000 year old mummy as displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum. Photo credit: ROM.


There are about 50,000 PhD candidates in Canada. Most of them toil away for years in relative obscurity. This is the debut of an occasional series which tries to turn their research into an hour of radio. In this inaugural episode called Ideas from the Trenches - The Living Dead, producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic follow the work of PhD student Myriam Nafte, who studies the circulation and use of human remains in Western society. And they find unexpected connections between the living and the dead.

Participants in the program (in order of appearance):

Dan Rahimi - Archeologist and vice-president of gallery development at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Robert Pogue Harrison - Professor of Italian Literature at Stanford University and author of The Dominion of the Dead.

Wayne Belger - photographer and visual artist based in Tuscan, Arizona.

Joel Peter Witkin - photographer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tony Walter - Director of the Centre for the Study of Death and Society in Bath, UK.

Image Gallery

ADVISORY: the eighth and last photograph in this gallery is entitled "Feast of Fools", by Joel Peter Witkin which includes the body a deceased fetus. Some viewers may find this image disturbing.

Video montage of photographer Wayne Belger's work

media clip

Listen to the full interview with Wayne Belger

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