Recent beheadings committed by radical Islamist militants have evoked almost universal disgust and revulsion, and that’s exactly the point, says anthropologist Frances Larson. She calls decapitation “the ultimate tyranny,” and in a new book she examines the cultural and political fixation on heads severed from the body. Larson joins us Monday to discuss the psychological power of the detached human head. We’ll also explore what can be learned about our common humanity from a most inhumane act.
Frances Larson is an honorary research fellow in anthropology at Durham University. Her new book is called Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found [Amazon|Indiebound].