Jay Aronson Presents: "Who Owns the Dead? : The Science and Politics of Death at Ground Zero" on Wednesday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. in McCormick Hall, Room 101

December 14, 2016
Who Owns the Dead? The Science and Politics of Death at Ground Zero by Jay D. Aronson

“The dead, it seemed to some, belonged first and foremost to the powerful.”

So writes Jay Aronson in the epilogue to his newest book, Who Owns the Dead?: The Science and Politics of Death at Ground Zero (Harvard University Press, 2016). Aronson will lecture on his book, Who Owns the Dead? on March 8, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. in McCormick Hall, Room 101. A book signing will follow the lecture. Labyrinth Books will be on site selling Who Owns the Dead? for attendees convenience. This event is organized by Zoe Buonaiuto (Department of History) and is co-sponsored by the Center for Collaborative History, the University Center for Human Values, and the Program in American Studies. It is free and open to the public.

In the years following 9/11, the promise to identify and return to families every body part recovered from Ground Zero proved a difficult one to keep. Of the 2,753 victims, only 293 bodies were found intact. The rest were collected in nearly 22,000 fragments among the debris. In Who Owns the Dead?, Aronson presents his research on the most expensive forensic investigation in U.S. history and the controversial politics that surround it. As innovations in biotechnology and forensic science made large-scale DNA identification possible, the union of private and public grief led NYC Chief Medical Examiner Charles S. Hirsch to undertake one of the most contested chapters in recent American memory. Aronson guides us through the solemn memorials of 9/11, debates about the commercial redevelopment of the site, and the contested storage of unclaimed remains at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Jay Aronson is the founder and director of the Center for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also an Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society in the History Department. His research and teaching focus is on the interactions of science, technology, law, and human rights in a variety of contexts. His first book, entitled Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling (Rutgers University Press, 2007), examined the development of forensic DNA analysis in the American legal system. Jay received his Ph.D. in History of Science and Technology from the University of Minnesota and was both a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.