Death

Organiser: Julie Rugg, Centre for Housing Policy

Overview

Death is a complex cluster of experiences, activities and beliefs, and is an eventuality that individuals and societies have always struggled to accommodate. It has long been posited that death has been a taboo subject for much of the twentieth century. Within the modern period, death is one of the few elements of existence that have evaded scientific containment. However, within ‘post-modern’ frameworks, some commentators have identified a re-engagement with mortality: indeed, it might be possible to argue that – in the UK at least – death has become a central concern.

This research strand aims to explore multiple perspectives on mortality, through engagement in a series of interdisciplinary workshops from Autumn term, 2014.

Bibliography (for University of York staff only)

Forthcoming events

Speakers: Jacque Lynn Foltyn, Sarah Tarlow, Michele Aaron.  This conference focusses on the impact of mortality on culture, and the ways in which the very fact of death has shaped human behaviour, evidenced through thought, action, production and expression.

Past events

A one-day workshop investigating the relationship of Death and British art.  Art in Britain has always been concerned with mourning and morbidity, and with death as a social, cultural and ritualistic process. This event will consider the extent to which death and its visual cultures have impacted the production and reception of art in Britain and beyond.  

A multi-disciplinary seminar with speakers including Marie-Luise Kohlke (University of Swansea)

With short presentations from: Geoff Cubitt (History), Dorothy Nott (History of Art), Ruth Penfold-Mounce (Sociology) and Jim Sharpe (History). This informal meeting discussed aspects of symbolic death, comprehending a wide range of suffering, experiencing, or even embracing death, such as martyrdom, suicide bombing, exemplary and edifying deaths, and assassination.