Histories of Death Symposium

February 19-21, 2020
University of Turku, Finland

CALL FOR PAPERS

Our understandings of death come with long and complex histories, shaped by culture, place, time, power, and identities. Historical analysis allows us to better understand the paths that have led to the recent move toward “death positivity,” and the popularity of death doulas, “death cafes,” alternative and ecological burial solutions, and new understandings of grief. The interdisciplinary and rapidly growing field of Death Studies raises awareness about how we die and mourn, and the ways social factors — class, migrant background, and gender, among them — can result in unequal access to “good death” in many countries and communities today. This International Symposium seeks to delve into the many varied and interwoven Histories of Death to further explore the traditions, ideologies, and institutions that shape our experiences with death.

Death sets people into action, caring for the dying, the deceased, and the grieving in ways that range from the intimate to the professional. The Histories of Death Symposium invites researchers to share their work and engage in dialogue about the different ways people have approached dying, death, and mourning from everyday, cultural, and structural perspectives. The symposium calls for papers, posters, or creative works that may analyze:

  • the social and everyday histories of death
  • histories of death in the context of migration(s)
  • narratives and/or life writing of death and mourning
  • histories of emotion and mourning
  • sensory and corporeal histories of death and mourning
  • childhood and family histories of death
  • health, gerontological, and palliative care histories
  • art and craftwork in histories of death
  • methods and ethics for the study of death in history.

Proposals across times and places are welcome. Though the focus is on death and mourning in historical contexts, the symposium is particularly interested in exploring inter/transdisciplinary approaches, and scholars from all backgrounds are welcome to participate.

Please email abstracts of 250 words, indicating whether you are proposing a paper presentation, poster presentations, or creative work, together with a max. 150-word bio, including name, institutional affiliation and position, and email address, to historiesofdeath@gmail.com by August 15, 2019.

The Symposium is hosted by the John Morton Center for North American Studies at the University of Turku’s Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History, and Political Science. The symposium is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Information about Travel & Accommodation and Featured Speakers has now been posted. Registration will begin in September 2019.