From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

(Deep) mapping postmortem geographies in the context of migration

José Alavez, Lilyane Rachédi, Sébastien Caquard


What happens to migrants when they die? Inspired by the emerging academic literature concerning death in the context of migration and Avril Madrell’s (2016) deep mapping framework to study the geographies of remembrance, grief and mourning, we mapped the postmortem geographies of three migrants who lived and died in Quebec. This mapping process traced posthumous geographies through the stories told by partners and friends of the deceased. While these geographies can cover multiple components of death, such as memories of the deceased and artifacts associated with them, in this project, we focus on the mobilities of the bodies and the geography of the social networks triggered by death. Mapping the bodies’ transnational mobilities reveals both the links that are developed over time between the country of origin and the host country, and the journeys that bodies of migrants often take before reaching their final destination(s). Mapping the social networks that emerge after death in the context of migration reveals both their global facets and their local structure, which are ephemeral and extremely difficult to locate spatially. By employing maps and stories, this paper provides insights about the complex dimensions of these postmortem mobilities. Further, it calls for alternative sources of information and forms of spatial expressions to continue the study of the geographies of death in the context of migration.


cartography, migration, death, deep mapping, body, networks



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