Simon Harrison

Ulster University, Aontroim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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Publications (5)4.03 Total impact

  • Simon Harrison
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article discusses the collection and use of enemy skulls and other bones as trophies by soldiers and their supporters in the American Civil War. This behaviour was condemned at the time as that of 'savages'. However, the author argues that it was a local symptom of the shifts taking place after the Enlightenment in the ways in which human diversity was conceptualized. Civil War soldiers who collected and displayed their enemies' remains did so for some of the same reasons that comparative anatomists had begun to collect, display and study such objects at the time. They, too, assumed that the fundamental material evidence of human differences lay under the skin, in the bones and, above all, in the skull.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Journal of Material Culture
  • Simon Harrison
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article discusses acts of restitutive giving, a range of practices similar to the gift except that they express sociability by reaffirming between donors and recipients the existence of social boundaries rather than connections. The particular case discussed concerns military personnel in the major wars of the twentieth century, who took personal items from the enemy dead as battle trophies. Focusing on the Pacific War, the article explores the meaning of these objects for the servicemen who kept them, and the ways in which this meaning altered during their later lives. In particular, the article seeks to explain why some veterans in old age, or their families after their deaths, traced the original owners' surviving kin and returned the objects to them. Le présent article discute des actes de restitution, des pratiques proches du don à ceci près qu’elles expriment la sociabilité en réaffirmant entre celui qui donne et celui qui reçoit l’existence de frontières sociales plutôt que de liens. Le cas particulier discuté ici concerne des militaires ayant participé aux grands conflits armés du XXème siècle, qui avaient emporté comme trophées de guerre des biens personnels de leurs ennemis morts au combat. Dans le cas plus précis de la guerre du Pacifique, l’auteur explore la signification de ces objets pour les militaires qui les ont gardés, et la manière dont cette signification a changé par la suite au fil de leur vie. Il s’agit en particulier d’expliquer pourquoi certains anciens combattants, devenus vieux, ou leur famille après leur mort, ont recherché les parents survivants des anciens propriétaires de ces objets pour leur rendre ceux-ci.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2008 · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Simon Harrison
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article discusses human alterations to the landscape in a lowland Papua New Guinea society, arguing that the ways in which people structure their practical, everyday interactions with the physical environment can embody culturally-specific theories of memory, forgetting and the political uses of knowledge.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2007 · Social Anthropology
  • Simon Harrison
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article discusses the use of enemy body parts as war trophies, focusing on the collection of Japanese skulls as trophies by Allied servicemen in the Second World War, and on the treatment of these objects after the war. I argue that such human trophy-taking tends to occur in societies, including modern states, in which two conditions hold: the hunting of animals is an important component of male identity; and the human status of enemies is denied.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2006 · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Simon Harrison
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article discusses resemblances between the religious symbolism of the annual cycle in certain societies, and seasonally linked mood disorders (notably seasonal affective disorder, or SAD) in contemporary Europe and North America. Two conclusions are drawn: first, that the ritual and symbolism connected with seasonality in some societies may be partly motivated by neurophysiology; second, that SAD is a culture-bound syndrome limited to societies that generate disjunctions between ‘social’ and ‘natural’ time.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2004 · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Publication Stats

48 Citations
4.03 Total Impact Points


  • 2004-2010
    • Ulster University
      • School of Psychology
      Aontroim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom