Conference: „The Circle of Life“. Birth, Dying, and the Liminality of Life since the Nineteenth Century, 01.-02.09.2022, Warsaw

German Historical Institute Warsaw; Michael Zok (Warsaw) (Web) and Florian Greiner (Heidelberg) (Web)

Time: 01.-02.09.2022
Venue: Warsaw

Birth and dying as existential transitions in human life have a profound significance for every society. Surprisingly, in historical research they are usually considered in isolation. However, anthropologists and ethnologists have been interpreting them as entangled practices for a long time, as envisioned in the concept of liminality and rites of passage by Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner. In observing that cultures have different approaches to these phenomena, they pointed out that their functions depended on the specifics of a given society and its cultural beliefs and performances. In modern societies, processes of secularisation, modernisation, scientification, and rationalisation have had a major impact on (religious) systems of beliefs as well as everyday life. Therefore, these processes also influenced the meaning of liminality and rites of passage that are subjects to public discourses, political decisions, and legal requirements.



  • 16.30: Welcome by Miloš Řezník (Warsaw)
  • 16.40: Michael Zok (Warsaw): Introduction: Birth and Dying. Liminal Stages from Different Perspectives

Panel I: In Utero

  • 17.00: Wiebke Lisner (Hanover): “Halted Blood” and Unborn Children during the Nazi “War on Births”. Perceptions of Pregnancy and Abortion in Occupied Poland between Racial Segregation and Biopolitics
  • 17.30: Marina Banitou (Thessaly): Ceauşescu’s Abortion Ban: Implications and Inferno Orphanages (1966-1989) Read more and source … (Web)