Dakota Guo Ting: The Corpse Not In Its Place: Silhouetting A Necroeconomy


Thesis Advisor: Ghalya Saadawi 

Thesis: The Corpse Not In Its Place: Silhouetting A Necroeconomy

August 2022


The thesis sets off as a speculative parsing of an exemplary corpse trading crime in contemporary China, which laid bare the improbable self-sufficiency of the mortal order as we know it. To silhouette a necroeconomy that stretches beyond the funeral industry and leaks through the orifices of the post-secular Chinese society, I find the necessity to attend to the not-yet-extinguished cosmo(necro-)logical infrastructure that predicates the economic relation between the realm of yang, i.e., the realm of the living, and the realm of yin, i.e., the realm of the (un)dead. The thesis takes anthropological, etymological, and archaeological accounts as sites for ominous reading—a method of reading that attends to the hauntological structure of non-linear causality rather than the linear inference of cause and effect. The thesis witnesses my attempts to suture a corpse-ghost continuum and to formulate a particular necrotechnics based on entombment. The aim is to situate the peculiar agency of corpses as the locus of a necroeconomy whose paradigm is yet to be defined. 

Author: Dakota Guo Ting