Attempting intelligibility with the seemingly incomprehensible: Murambi, human remains and the Labour of Care

Ashley DeMartini


In this article, I discuss the work carried out by the employees of the Murambi
Memorial, a site commemorating Rwanda’s genocide, to highlight how their
work-related responsibilities creates an opportunity for the memorial’s visitors to
have an intelligible encounter with the seemingly incomprehensible presence of
human remains. I introduce the concept of the Labour of Care, which provides a
basis to think about how the work carried out by Murambi’s employees bestows
upon the human remains their interpretable qualities. From this basis, I examine
how this concept provides a means to think about human remains not simply as
material objects, but rather, better understood as subject-come-objects. By doing
so, visitors can move beyond idealized notions of redemption and think about
humanity’s unsettling capacity for violence.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Ashley DeMartini

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360