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The Tattoo Project


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Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Introducing The Tattoo Project, Deborah Davidson
  • Section I. History, Culture, And Approach: An Overview
  • Chapter 2: Memories on the Skin: A Brief Cultural History of Tattooing, Margo DeMello
  • Chapter 3: Commemorative Tattoos as Visual-Material Media, Sara Martel
  • Chapter 4: Between the Inside and the Outside: Commemorative Tattoos and the Externalization of Loss or Trauma, Andreas Kitzmann
  • Chapter 5: Creative Methodologies, Gayle Letherby and Deborah Davidson
  • Chapter 6: Tattooing as Auto/Biographical Method and Practice, Gayle Letherby and Deborah Davidson
  • Chapter 7: Visual Research Methods: Memorial Tattoos as Memory-Realization, Deborah Davidson and Angelina Duhig
  • Chapter 8: Inscribing Memory as a Social Process: The Tattoo Artist-Client Relationship, Arthur McLuhan, with Wayne Galbraith
  • Section II. Written In The Flesh
  • Poem. Not a Cliche, Priscila Uppal
  • Photos
  • Section III. Case Studies And Personal Narratives
  • Chapter 9: ""Physical Words"": Scars, Tattoos, and Embodied Mourning, Kay Inckle
  • Chapter 10: Enshrined in Flesh: Tattoos and Contemporary Women's Spirituality, Gina Snooks
  • Chapter 11: Memorial Tattoos as Connection, Andrea Warnick and Lysa Toye
  • Chapter 12: ""Ingulule Ayidli Ngamabala"": A Reflection on the Spotted Soloist, Siphiwe Ignatius Dube
  • Chapter 13: I Am, Stephanie Pangowish
  • Chapter 14: Tattoo Memoir, Dave Mazierski
  • Chapter 15: Why I Get Tattoos: A Personal Perspective on Tattoos and Commemoration, Craig Roxborough
  • Section IV. The Tattoo Project: A Community Under Construction
  • Chapter 16: What Is an Archive? Creators, Functions, and Value in Archival Practice, Lisa Darms
  • Chapter 17: Public Sociology and Digital Culture, Ariane Hanemaayer and Christopher J. Schneider
  • Chapter 18: Technology Design to Support Commemorative Tattoo Practice, Melanie Baljko
  • Chapter 19: The Coming Together of a Community of Practice: Commemorative Tattoos as Visual Culture for Community Engagement and Identity Formation, Anabel Quan-Haase
  • Chapter 20: Knowledge Mobilization: Engaging Beyond the Academy Walls, Krista Jensen
  • Reflection, Deborah Davidson
  • Author Biographies

About the Author

Deborah Davidson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University. Her work focuses on wellbeing and social support, grief and bereavement, and life course.


"The Tattoo Project imaginatively blurs the lines between academic research and embodied narratives, scholarly knowledge and lived experiences. Methodologically ambitious, The Tattoo Project shows the multi-layered meanings behind commemorative tattoos, giving voice and space to the people who embody them. It also challenges us to re-think collaboration and community through the creation of an open digital archive that extends into the public sphere, and how the tattooed body is an inimitable archive in and of itself." - Mary Kosut, School of Natural and Social Sciences, Purchase College, SUNY "As a unique form of human expression, tattooing transmits a vast body of information about who we are, where we come from, our desires and fears, and who we aspire to be. It offers one of the most powerful biographical, artistic, and intellectual statements on cultural diversity, visual communication, and commemorative agency. The authors of The Tattoo Project bring these profound perceptions to life, generating a timely interdisciplinary study that provides critical new understandings of body-marking and its role in self-making." - Lars Krutak, Tattoo Anthropologist, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

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