We live everyday with the signs of death’s inevitability: aging bodies, decaying buildings, dead flowers. The everyday-ness of death, or what sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls “living with death,” is always with us and, yet, also is somehow kept in the background as we go about our daily routines. Our own deaths in particular are events that, under normal circumstances, we try to put off for as long as possible.
And then there are deaths that are not “everyday” in quite the same way, the kinds that result from illness (physical or psychological), war or natural disasters. Approaches to the causes and kinds of deaths that humans have faced throughout history — be they medical, environmental, social or political — are essential variables in a wide range of academic disciplines, spanning the humanities, social sciences, arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
Courses in “death studies” have become extremely popular on university campuses while the recently founded “Death Café movement” is bringing people together in cafes around the world to foster “an awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”
– Written by Karen Bassi. Article appeared in The Daily Pilot, on February 15, 2015.
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