Following Antigone: Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights


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"Following Antigone: Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights" video that we saw in class was one of the most culturally interesting video's I have seen in a long time. Although being aware of what goes on in the outside world with regards to human rights, but it is a totally different ball game when looked at through an anthropologists view.

The video represented several different fields and subdisciplines that we learned in our prior lectures. Some of which included "Applied pherensic research, Actual evidence, Criminal investigation, Team research, Life histories, and Problem oriented ethnography." These fields and subdisciplines were used individually and together in several ways. They used Applied pherensic research, Actual evidence and Criminal investigation to find out the causes of death, what caused it, what might have the conditions been to have caused such a result. The actual archeological finds derived the cause of death and what might have been used to kill the victim. Team research, Life histories was used together to individualize to find out a particular family's problems and to solve them to relieve the family's pain and suffering.

There are many methodologies that are used by the EAAF for investigation in these cases. In this video, the particular ones that were mentioned included Team research and Interviewing, which was used by the group to conduct interviews, locate the alleged burial grounds and also to find out who was supposedly buried there. Genealogical methods were also used to find out how many people from their family were missing and who they particularly were. In this movie mainly there was a section were they had displayed an individual grandmother who was trying to locate her daughter and her very young grandkids. Although this is very necessary to conduct investigation there were a lot of ethical considerations that needed to be kept in mind when performing the tasks.

One of the major task that needs to be taken care of before anything could proceed was to get a consent from the family of the individuals that were missing or had been considered dead. Since in some of the cultures it is considered very disrespectful to dig up the burial ground even if it is to find out the truth about what had happened. When and if the bodies are found the anthropologists try to the best of their ability to be careful and respectful of the remains that they found.

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"Following Antigone: Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights." 123HelpMe.com. 12 Dec 2017
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After the investigation takes place and the results come back if the remains are identified to a particular person who is missing based on the location and the DNA match. Those remains are then returned to the family so they could receive a proper burial and provide the rest of the family with closure and a sense of relief that the person who was missing is not being held captive anywhere or suffering.

During the course of the video the three stages that were mentioned for the EAAF investigation were the Preliminary stage, which consists of interviewing, conducting research about the family member who is missing and speculate where they think their family member is buried. The next step was Archeological stage, which includes digging of the bodies and various other things that are needed to conduct the investigation. The last step was Physiological stage which includes performing research mostly pherensic like identifying the bodies causes of death, weapon used if any etc. Some of the goals that EAAF tries to accomplish include their backbreaking research and working day and night to uncover the truth and provide the families with what they have discovered. Their main goal was to provide the families with the closure they have been looking for along with the retribution they deserve from whoever brought this fate to their loved ones. Thousands of cases like these are entered in the judicial system to provide the family with the justice they deserve based on their findings.

During the conversation, one of the anthropologist working there said that they like their work there because they are able to make others feel better and relieved of their lifetime of worries. They do wonder sometimes about their personal preparedness, doubts, fears of doing this work, as they can't imagine what they would o if something like this ever happened to one of their family members. Emotionally sometimes it is very draining since they feel sadness of the people they are helping along with internal conflict. They also feel anguish, tension that is felt after identifying the body as to how they are going to break the news to the family about how their family member was murdered after being sexually assaulted or shot in the head what ever the case might be. But over all they also felt a sense of satisfaction when the remains are returned to the rightful families and those emotions sometimes make them cry

Over all the movie represented the hardships the anthropologists face when they are dealing with situations were they do not know what they are going to encounter next. Although every time the find some one buried they are going to go through the same procedure as always, there is always a new family who is waiting to hear the news and results of what was discovered about their loved ones. They are going to find out what happened to them, how they died, if they suffered or not etc. There are always going to be emotions flying in the air every time a new case is solved and a new culprit is found and one of the EAAF members is going to have to deliver the news which could be a sense of satisfaction but also mentally draining.



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