Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2018

Department 1

First Year Seminar

Department 2

Religious Studies


No one knows how many people are missing in the world. Among cases involving kidnapping, human trafficking, and armed conflicts, even the most scrutinous efforts can never verify the sheer number of missing persons. This mystery is especially true for armed conflicts and human rights abuses as “the reluctance of most states to deal honestly and effectively with this issue” keeps the number unknown (“Missing”). Sadly, a great deal of missing persons are not only missing, but dead and unidentified, often as a result of armed conflicts like genocide, which uses mass graves. Once the mass graves are unearthed, specially trained experts called forensic anthropologists work tirelessly to examine the skeletonized remains to identify and return them to families and hopefully achieve justice for the victims. The forensic identification of victims of human rights violations, while challenging, is important for the psychological healing of victims’ broken families and is ultimately worth the intense effort.


Written for FYS 150: Death and the Meaning of Life. Poster presented at the 2019 Celebration of Academic First-Year Engagement Symposium

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Additional Files

Emma Thoms symposium poster.pptx (534 kB)