Friday, February 04, 2022

Afterword: Living with a Ghost

Guest Blogger

For the Balkinization Symposium on Death and Legal Scholarship

Mary L. Dudziak

Brittany Farr’s post in this blog symposium led me, via Saidiya Hartman, to Michel-Rolph Trouillout, who wrote: “Slavery is a ghost, both the past and the living presence; and the problem of historical representation is how to represent the ghost.” Our present condition is, of course, vastly different from Trouillot’s topic, but we also will not leave our multifaceted present trauma behind us. The future will involve contending with a ghost, and the problem of its representation in our work. As these posts have illustrated, the importance of this era of mass carnage and suffering to law-related scholarship is already revealing itself.

To aid further engagement with this topic, we conclude with a partial and somewhat idiosyncratic bibliography of related works. We thank librarians at Boston University School of Law who compiled much of this list. Important works are also hyperlinked in the preceding essays. In particular, works on Black death and grief are included as links in Brittany Farr’s post.


Allen, B. Emotion and COVID-19: Toward an Equitable Pandemic Response. 18 Bioethical Inquiry 403 (2021).

Barry, John M., The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (New York, 2004).

Cahn, Naomi R., and Linda C. McClain, Gendered Complications of COVID-19: Towards a Feminist Recovery Plan, 22 Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, 1 (2020)

Canham, Hugo, Thanatopolitics and Fugitive Mourning in Pandemic Death, 19 Social and Health Sciences 1 (May 2021) [South Africa].

COVID-19: Pandemics Past and Present, HeinOnline Database.

Dudziak, Mary L., The Numbers: Encountering Casualties in the Era of Covid-19, 45(3) Diplomatic History 489 (2021) (open access).

Dudziak, Mary L., An Uncountable Casualty: Ruminations on the Social Life of Numbers, in After Life: Death and Loss in 2020 America, co-edited by Rhae Lynn Barnes, Keri Leigh Merritt, and Yohuru Williams (Haymarket Books, forthcoming Fall 2022).

Grossman, Joanna L., and Linda C. McClain, “Might as Well Carry a Purse with That Mask, Joe”: COVID-19, Toxic Masculinity, and the Sad State of National Politics, Verdict (9 Oct 2020).

Haller, Moira, Sonya B. Norman, Brittany C. Davis, Christy Capone, Kendall Browne, and Carolyn B. Allard, A Model for Treating COVID-19–related Guilt, Shame, and Moral Injury, 12(S1) Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, COVID-19: Insights on the Pandemic’s Traumatic Effects and Global Implications S174 (2020).

Han, Yuna, Katharine M. Millar, and Martin J. Bayly, COVID-19 as a Mass Death Event, 35(1) Ethics & International Affairs 5 (2021).

Harvell, Lindsey A. and Gwendelyn S. Nisbett, Denying Death: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Terror Management Theory (2016).

Hill, Marc Lamont, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

Hoffman, Louis, Existential–Humanistic Therapy and Disaster Response: Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic, 61(1) Journal of Humanistic Psychology 33 (2021).

Knowles, Scott Gabriel, #COVIDCalls (daily podcast hosted by a disaster historian based in South Korea, featuring a wide range of experts, from historians to epidemiologists and public health experts, and many other fields. Past interviews are archived online.).

Kokou-Kpolou, Cyrille Kossigan, Manuel Fernández-Alcántara, and Jude Mary Cénat, Prolonged Grief Related to COVID-19 Deaths: Do We Have to Fear a Steep Rise in Traumatic and Disenfranchised Griefs?, 12(S1) Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, COVID-19: Insights on the Pandemic’s Traumatic Effects and Global Implications S94 (2020).

Laqueur, Thomas W., The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (Princeton University Press, 2015).

Laub, Dori, and Susanna Lee. Thanatos and Massive Psychic Trauma: The Impact of the Death Instinct on Knowing, Remembering, and Forgetting. 51(2) Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 433 (June 2003).

Miller, Eric D., The COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis: The Loss and Trauma Event of Our Time, 25 Journal of Loss and Trauma 560-572 (2020).

Palmer, Carl, and Rolfe D. Peterson, Toxic Mask-ulinity: The Link between Masculine Toughness and Affective Reactions to Mask Wearing in the COVID-19 Era, Politics and Gender 16(4):1-14 (July 2020).

Powell, Catherine, Color of Covid and Gender of Covid: Essential Workers, Not Disposable People, 33.1 Yale J.L. & Feminism  1 (2021). 

Powell, Catherine, The Color of Covid After Biden’s First 100 Days, Think Global Health (2021).

Powell, Catherine, “Virtual Convergence”:  Interconnected Pandemics as Portal to Racial Justice, Just Security, Racing National Security (online symposium) (2020).

Skitolsky, L., The Politics of Mourning in the Neoliberal State. 57(2) Dialogue 367 (2018).  

Spinney, Laura, Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World (PublicAffairs, 2017).       

Ursano, Robert J. and Matthew  J. Friedman, Interventions following mass violence and disasters: Strategies for mental health practitioners in Interventions Following Mass Violence and Disasters (edited by Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, Patricia J. Watson, and Matthew J. Friedman 2006) [Chapter 21].

Jaqueline Wernimont, Numbered Lives: Life and Death in Quantum Media (MIT Press, 2018).

John Fabian Witt, American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19 (New Haven, CT, 2020).

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