Dr Claire Moon

Dr Claire Moon

Associate Professor in Sociology

Department of Sociology

Connect with me

English, Spanish
Key Expertise
Politics, Atrocity, Justice, Knowledge, Human Rights, Forensics, Death

About me

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. My research and teaching confront broad themes such as the nation, justice and atrocities. They span the sociologies of politics, violence, human rights, knowledge, science and death.

I have published on topics such as transitional justice, political reconciliation, reparations, amnesties, war trauma, human rights, humanitarianism, denial, victim stigmatisation, forensic investigations of atrocities, and deathwork. I am the author of Narrating Political Reconciliation: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and am currently working on two new book projects. The first of these is entitled Extraordinary Deathwork. It concerns social and political responses to mass violent death, crises of death management and the particular forms of death labour (‘extraordinary deathwork’) that arise in their midst. It investigates these issues in relation to violent death and disappearance in the context of Mexico’s so-called ‘war on drugs’. The second book project, Human Rights, Human Remains, concentrates on the broader history, politics, practices, and ethics of forensic exhumations of mass graves and asks whether, as a result of recent humanitarian activity around the dead, we can now argue that the dead have human rights. These two new books are derived from a major funded research project entitled Human Rights, Human Remains: Forensic Humanitarianism and the Politics of the Grave (2018-2022). A film relating to that project can be found here.

To support this research, I undertook professional training in forensic anthropology (grave exhumation and human skeletal identification) and death management, with a focus on human rights investigations, mass disasters, and the humanitarian management of the dead. My research has informed the development of new international protocols and national and UN reports on mass grave location, protection and exhumation. I have also served on the advisory board of a citizen science collective of families of the disappeared in Mexico.

My research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and the LSE.

I teach across a range of programmes at all levels in the Department, including courses driven by my research interests. At undergraduate level I teach SO309 Atrocity and Justice, and at postgraduate level, SO457 Political Reconciliation. In 2024 I will be launching a new MSc course entitled The Social and Political Lives of the Dead which ties my longer interests in politics, atrocity and social suffering to my recent research on violent death, death management and deathwork. I have supervised PhDs on a range of topics including the military refusenik movement in Israel, state crimes in Mexico, memory and justice in Cambodia, transitional justice in Colombia, state crimes and social movements in Argentina, migrant deaths in Europe, and victim movements in Mexico. I have won a number of teaching prizes for my taught courses, most recently in 2023.

In 2023 I established the first association of academics of first generation/working class background at the LSE.

Selected publications


Moon, Claire Extraordinary Deathwork (manuscript in progress).

Moon, Claire (2009) Narrating Political Reconciliation: South AfricaTruth and Reconciliation Commission (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington Books).

Special Issues

Moon, Claire with Frances Heidensohn, Gillian Stevenson, Fran Tonkiss and Richard Wright (eds.) Special 60th Anniversary Issue of British Journal of Sociology, ‘The BJS: shaping sociology over 60 years’, 61/s1.

Articles and chapters

Moon, Claire (forthcoming 2023) ‘What we talk about when we talk about transitional justice. And what we don’t’ in Alexander Laban Hinton, Lawrence Douglas and Jens Meierhenrich (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Transitional Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Moon, Claire and Javier Treviño-Rangel (2021) ‘¿Como procesa la población mexicana la guerra contra las drogas?’, Nexos, April 29.

Moon, Claire and Javier Treviño-Rangel (2020)  ‘“Involved in something (involucrado en algo)”: denial and stigmatization in Mexico’s ‘war on drugs’’, British Journal of Sociology, 71/4: 722-740.

Translated into Spanish in 2023 as ‘“Involucrado en algo”: negación y estigma en la “guerra contra las drogas” de México, Revista Colombiana de Sociología, 46/1: 327-358.

Moon, Claire (2020) ‘Extraordinary deathwork: new developments in, and the social significance of, forensic humanitarian action’ in Roberto C. Parra, Sara C. Zapico and Douglas H. Ubelaker (eds.) Humanitarian Forensic Science: Interacting with the Dead and the Living. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

Moon, Claire (2020) ‘What remains? Human rights after death’ in Kirsty Squires, David Errickson and Nicholas Márquez-Grant (eds.) Ethical Challenges in the Analysis of Human Remains. New York: Springer.

Renshaw, Layla, Marina Álamo Bryan, Zuzanna Dziuban and Claire Moon (2020) ‘Tools in the search for human remains’ in The Secret Life of Objects, ISRF Bulletin XXI. 

Moon, Claire (2020) ‘Los derechos humanos de los muertos’, Observatorio del Desarollo. Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas. 25/26.

Moon, Claire (2018) ‘Politics, deathwork and the rights of the dead’, Humanity, 9th November

Moon, Claire (2017) ‘The biohistory of atrocity and the social life of human remains’ in Christopher M. Stojanowski and William N. Duncan (eds.)StudiesinForensicBiohistory: AnthropologicalPerspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press): 267-287.

Moon, Claire (2016)  ‘Human rights, human remains: Forensic humanitarianism and the human rights of the dead’, InternationalSocialScienceJournal, 65/215-216: 49-63.

Moon, Claire (2013) ‘Interpreters of the dead: Forensic knowledge, human remains and the politics of the past’, SocialandLegalStudies, 22/2: 149-169.

Moon, Claire (2013) ‘Looking without seeing, listening without hearing: Cohen, denial and human rights’, Crime, MediaandCulture, 9/2: 193-196.

Moon, Claire (2012) ‘“What one sees and how one files seeing”: reporting atrocity and suffering’, Sociology, 46/5: 876-890.

Moon, Claire (2012) ‘“Who’ll pay reparations on my soul?” Compensation, social control and social suffering’, SocialandLegalStudies, 21/2: 187-199.

Moon, Claire (2011) ‘The crime of crimes and the crime of criminology: genocide, criminology and Darfur, BritishJournalofSociology, 62/1: 49-55.

Moon, Claire (2010) ‘The British Journal of Sociology in the 1990s: discontent and disarray?’, in Frances Heidensohn, Claire Moon, Gillian Stevenson, Fran Tonkiss and Richard Wright (eds.), BritishJournalofSociology, Special 60th Anniversary Issue, 61/s1: 261-269.

Moon, Claire (2010) ‘Narrar la reconciliación política: verdad y reconciliación en Sudáfrica, in Cecilia Macón and Laura Cucchi (eds.) MapasDeLaTransición: LapolíticadespuésdelterrorenAlemania, Chile, España, Guatemala, SudáfricayUruguay (Buenos Aires: Ladosur): 61-85.

Moon, Claire (2009) ‘Healing past violence: traumatic assumptions and therapeutic interventions in war and reconciliation’, JournalofHumanRights, 8/1: 71-91.

Moon, Claire (2009) ‘Transitional amnesty and justice and reconciliation’, SocialandLegalStudies, 18/4: 561-564.

Moon, Claire (2008) ‘Amnesty’ in Peter Cane and Joanne Conaghan (eds), NewOxfordCompaniontoLaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 30.

Moon, Claire (2007) ‘States of acknowledgement: the politics of memory, apology and therapy’ in David Downes et al (eds.), Crime, SocialControlandHumanRights: frommoralpanicstostatesofdenial. EssaysinhonourofStanCohen (Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing): 314-329.

Moon, Claire (2006) ‘Reconciliation as therapy and compensation: a critical analysis’, in Scott Veitch and Emilios Christodoulidis (eds.) Law, TimeandReconciliation (London: Ashgate): 163-184.

Moon, Claire (2006) ‘Narrating political reconciliation: truth and reconciliation in South Africa’, SocialandLegalStudies, 15/2: 257-275.

Moon, Claire (2004) ‘Prelapsarian state: forgiveness and reconciliation in transitional justice’, InternationalJournalfortheSemioticsofLaw, 17/2: pp 185-197.

Moon, Claire (2002) ‘From separation to interpenetration: a bi-national state in Palestine/Israel? A response to Eyal Weizman’, openDemocracy, July 9.