Milena Jesenská Visiting Fellow
(January – March 2012)
The Alchemy of the Last Meal.
The Culture of Capital Punishment in Central and Eastern Europe
Different social contexts make up different cultures of torture. The legislation, the judicial procedures, the ways and methods of execution, and the psychology of the ‘last meal’ are each components of this culture. The death penalty is an intensely emotional topic for everyone involved, yet more than two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain the story of capital punishment in Central and Eastern Europe remains untold. My purpose is to search for the alchemy of this topic, approaching it from a comparative perspective: did Western executioners, hangmen, or headsmen do a better job than their Eastern colleagues?