Course Description for The Anthropology of Death
The Anthropology of Death
This course explores the anthropological perspective on the cultural, social, and biological nature of human death. Examples of topics that will be cover include: biological definitions of death, decomposition as it relates to funeral practices, global patterns of mortuary rituals and funerary behavior, the cultural construction of death, the effects of death on the social fabric, and cultural and social facets of mourning and bereavement. Throughout the course, students will examine the variety of social and cultural responses to the biological fact of death. In doing so, they will be exposed to the Anthropological literature that seeks to explain or interpret the tremendous variety of human behavior surrounding death and dying. The course will be cross-cultural, holistic, and bio-cultural in its outlook and will require students to make conceptual connections between theoretical literature and empirical observations.