03:00 PM to 04:15 PM TR
Krug Hall 19
Section Information for Fall 2022
Why does death evoke deep-seated fears within us and has become an uncomfortable or even taboo subject in our society today? Can America be called a death-denying culture? What do we have to gain from different religious ideas and practices related to death, dying and the afterlife? In this course, we explore these questions by investigating the field of thanatology (the study of death) from a religious studies perspective. Against the backdrop of America’s death system and the modern death awareness movement, the course explores competing ideas about death, dying and the afterlife in the religious traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and how these may help us think through a range of issues and themes surrounding death in America today, including biomedical understandings of death, ethical questions related to end of life decisions, the process of dying, care for the dying, near-death experiences, funerary practices, and the experience of grief and bereavement. By the end of the course, we will have not only gained valuable knowledge about a range of issues related to death in America today, but, just as importantly, we will have gained a renewed understanding of the role and place of death in our own lives by thinking with and learning from a plurality of religious ideas and approaches to death, dying, and the afterlife.