Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

Mirrors of Passing: Unlocking the Mysteries of Death, Materiality, and Time

View Table of Contents

See Related Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Mirrors of Passing

Unlocking the Mysteries of Death, Materiality, and Time

Edited by Sophie Seebach and Rane Willerslev

326 pages, 102 color illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-908-0 $200.00/£142.00 Hb Published (August 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78533-894-6 $50.00/£36.00 Pb Not Yet Published (August 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-895-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors


“Ambitious and engaging, the essays in this volume demonstrate how diverse conceptions of time, in relation to death, are present across history, geography, and media. Beginning with the first chapter’s enchanting examination of a James Joyce story, and continuing through the various ethnographies, the contributors have provided us with new ways of engaging with some familiar themes.” · Barbara Graham, author of Death, Materiality, and Mediation: An Ethnography of Remembrance in Ireland


Without exception, all people are faced with the inevitability of death, a stark fact that has immeasurably shaped societies and individual consciousness for the whole of human history. Mirrors of Passing offers a powerful window into this oldest of human preoccupations by investigating the interrelationships of death, materiality, and temporality across far-flung times and places. Stretching as far back as Ancient Egypt and Greece and moving through present-day locales as diverse as Western Europe, Central Asia, and the Arctic, each of the richly illustrated essays collected here draw on a range of disciplinary insights to explore some of the most fundamental, universal questions that confront us.

Sophie Seebach holds a doctorate from Aarhus University. Her recent publications include pieces in the edited collection Mortuary Rites, Memory, and Authority/Agency: The Anthropology of Death in the Early Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and, with Lotte Meinert and Rane Willerslev, in the journal Africa.

Rane Willerslev holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. His numerous books and publications include On the Run in Siberia (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), Taming Time, Timing Death: Social Technologies and Ritual (edited with Dorthe R. Christensen, Ashgate, 2013), and Transcultural Montage (edited with Christian Suhr, Berghahn, 2013).

Subject: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies Religion


Sophie Seebach and Rane Willerslev

Chapter 1. Dead in the Water: A Conjuration of Some Atlantic Specters
Stuart McLean

Chapter 2. Orpheus at the Gate of Hades: Lost Love, Liminality and Suspended Time
Marina Lindhagen

Chapter 3. Death before Time: Mythical Time in Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Religion
Rune Nyord

Chapter 4. When Bad Places Turn Worse: The Necropolitics of Death Sites in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Per Detlef Frederiksen

Chapter 5. Narratives of Ebola: Enduring Uncertainties in Times of Crises
Theresa Amman

Chapter 6. Creatively Re-inventing Old Mortuary Rituals: Keeping Chukchi Life Flowing
Jeanette Lykkegård & Rane Willerslev

Chapter 7. Death, Rebirth, Objects, and Time in North American traditional Inuit Societies: an Overview
Matthew J. Walsh and Sean O’Neill

Chapter 8. Transforming and creating multiple worlds: Strange attractors in the Mongolian landscape
Malthe Lehrmann

Chapter 9. The Dead among the Living: Rethinking Death and Otherness in Lowland South America
Clarissa Martins Lima and Felipe Vander Velden

Chapter 10. Time Heals All Wounds? Bereaved Parents’ Timework and Renegotiation of Life, from Periods of Mourning to Everyday Practices
Dorthe Refslund Christensen and Kjetil Sandvik

Chapter 11. Multiple Identities: The Case of the Sami skulls.
Susan Matland

Chapter 12. Time, Death, and Immortality: The Case of a Tragic Masculine Hero
Johanna Sumiala

Chapter 13. The Temporality and Materiality of Life and Death in a Sepik Village
Christiane Falck

Chapter 14. The Wonderful Exhibition that Almost was
Alexandra Schuessler

Back to Top