Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse

A major, multi-disciplinary research project investigating the meanings, treatment, and uses of the criminal corpse.

The criminal corpse, even when life had left the body, was still a powerful object. It had social and symbolic power, medicinal, judicial, political and scientific power. Started in 2011 and funded by the Wellcome Trust, this five-year project explored the criminal corpse from the disciplines of archaeology, medical and criminal history, folklore, literature and philosophy. It will reveal the ways in which the power of the criminal corpse was harnessed, by whom, and to what ends in Britain between the late seventeenth and twentieth centuries.