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The Embalmed Revolution : the Leader’s Corpse Preservation within Bio-technics and Bio-politics of Sovereignty

Body preservation of monarchic rulers, such as pharaohs of ancient Egypt or emperors of Chinese Dynasties, once symbolized as immortality and sacredness of sovereign power, is not monopolized by the monarchic regime but also inherited by modern-states regimes for memorizing revolutionary leaders and keeping revolutionary careers under establishing even after their revolutionary and political leaders having been dead, which including Vladimir Lenin (1924), Sun Yat-sen (1925), Joseph Stalin (1953), Hồ Chí Minh (1969), Mao Ze-dong (1976), Chiang Kai-shek (1975) , Chiang Ching-kuo (1988), Kim Il-sung (1994), Kim Jong-il (2011) and Hugo Chávez (2013). Memorial is not the full purpose and meaning of Political leaders’ corpse preservation. Knowledge and technology of antibiotics and antiseptics is nothing more than skills if they do not take art of exhibition into consideration. For whom and what purpose the political leader’s corpse is preserved ? The exhibition of the immortal corpse and the gaze through the crystal sarcophagus might have implications of how sovereignty exercises its power through bio-technics and bio-politics.

Che-Liang Wu, postdoctoral researcher Center for Science and Technology and Society, NCTU e-mail : fossiliser

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