This project emerged from my interest in how bodies that are generally considered ‘ungrievable’ in the official domains of public life, e.g. published obituaries and high-profile memorials, get commemorated in the vernacular. Thus, opposed to the spectacular cases that we hear about in published obituaries of individuals who are considered worthy of societal respect and veneration for their incredible contributions, or those who are so notorious and extreme and whose deaths are to be celebrated, vernacular cases refer to the deaths of ordinary people; people who resemble my mother or someone’s sister, father, daughter, son, grandmother, etc.

The vernacular of death

The vernacular is a critical site of investigation within any domain. In the area of death studies, it offers us a view as to how those who are marginalized, those whose lives may not mean much to society at large, and those who stand at the intersections of multiple identities, are remembered and commemorated. The vernacular, in its own way, represents a form of resistance – remembering despite all that works towards forgetting the everyday, the ordinary and the unsensational.

Our Digital Graveyards Project

The inventory and hyperlinked sites of existing virtual graveyards, along with all the pertinent literature about thanatechnologies, would not have been possible without funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Knowledge Synthesis funding (2017). Nor would the extensive research gathered together and presented on this website would have been possible were it not for the determination, commitment and diligence of my research team.

The ‘Digital Graveyard’ project team consists of:

Bipasha Sultana

Nicole Taylor

Sarah Ganzon

A special thank you goes out to Juawana Grant who assisted with this project during the beginning of the summer (2017).

It is to them, that I attribute this work.

Yasmin Jiwani, Professor
Concordia University Research Chair on:
Intersectionality, Violence and Resistance