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HISTH 2322 & PHILH 2306: Death Class: Getting Started

Prof. Truax & Prof. Voss (Fall 2024)

Thinking Topics

Some starting points developed by Prof. Truax...

  • Transhumanism and Post-Humanism
  • Preservation Practices
  • Death and Animals
  • Colonialism and Death (Use the Erik Seeman class book for ideas here)
  • Controversial memorials
  • Stripper funerals? And other funeral practices
  • The Opioid Epidemic
  • Tobacco propaganda and policy
  • Compassionate prison release for near-death prisoners, ex: Lockerbie bomber
  • Death Threats and Culture, Death Threats and the Law
  • Monk Mummies
  • Return of museum pieces/treatment of graves
  • Causes of death from specific social situations, like chimney sweeps and testicular cancer

Avoid very ancient, pre-textual cultures. Classical (like ancient Greek) and forward will make your research much more manageable.

Try to focus on just one (1) thing for your research.

For example, ONE saint’s worship practice (ex, Santa Muerte).

Alternately, you can look at comparing or combining two things if you focus on ONE very narrow time period. (ex from previous semester, “Morality of Religious Conversion: A Closer Look at the Christianization of Canadian Shamanism").

Tool: The Topic Triangle

Tool: Mind Map/Cluster Map

Useful if you're still more broadly exploring.

I am studying __________________

because I want to know ___________________________

in order to help my readers understand ____________________________________.

Philosophical Slant

For the philosophy component, you'll be working through a framework of

  • utilitarianism
  • stoicism
  • virtue ethics

Library Presentation

FA23 Death Class (EP) by LSC-UP Library

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