Making Sense Of: Dying and Death


Making Sense Of: Dying and Death


Edited by Laura Cruz

Year: 2004

Format: eBook

This powerful volume takes a closer look at dying and death in an interdisciplinary fashion. While considering the vast realm that is “the unknown”, scholars from around the globe contribute to this fascinating debate on Making Sense of Dying and Death.

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210 x 297 mm

There is a powerful current in modern thought and practice, the tendency to treat death as “shameful and forbidden.”  Indeed, by the twentieth century death had become so proscribed that one anthropologist was prompted to call its status pornographic. Herman Feifel, a psychiatrist working with the Veteran’s Administration in San Francisco, is widely credited with breaking the taboo on discussions of death and dying with his book, The Meaning of Death (1959). The collected articles stemmed from a symposium on death and dying held in 1956, which produced a surprising fervour amongst its participants. In his introduction, Dr. Feifel lamented the “profound contradictions” this taboo had introduced into contemporary thought processes. Recognizing that these contradictions had broad implications and sources, his work drew from a wide array of perspectives and turned scholarly interest once again towards the ancient and profound question, what is the meaning of death? The Making Sense of Death and Dying conference, held in Paris in 2003, marks a continuation and expansion of the cross-disciplinary discussion begun by Dr. Feifel more than forty years ago.


PART I Cross-Cultural Practices of Mourning
Collective Emotions and National Mourning
Asa Kasher

African American Population in Grief
Penelope Johnson Moore

PART II Friends, Others, and a Postmodern Ars Moriendi
“We Simply Walk Toward the Sliding Doors”: Don Delillo’s White Noise as a Postmodern Ars Moriendi
Mikko Kallionsivu

PART III Images of Dying and Death
Death and Images of Womanhood and Manhood: The Case of Serbian Epic Poetry
Mira Crouch

Extreme Makeovers and Reciprocal Relations Between the Living and the Dead
Kathleen Young

PART IV Death Beyond Words: The Art, Music, and Poetry of Dying
Death and Musical Transfiguration: Writing the Disaster
Blake Hobby

Art Can Help Make Sense of Death and Dying
Michele Petrone

PART V Grief, Bereavement, and Counseling
Responding to Bereavement in an Acute Care Setting
Siobhan O’Driscoll

The Context and Countours of Bereavement Counselling
Jeremy Weinstein

PART VI Survivors and Protagonists
Avoid This Crowd Like the Plague: Historical Responses to Epidemic Diseases
Jennifer Hart

When the Protagonist is Death: Implicating Text and Reader in Trilogies of Auschwitz and Hiroshima
Karen Thornber

PART VII Palliative Care and Hospice Organization
A Rose By Any Other Name: The Palliative Care/ Euthanasia Continuum
Kay Mitchell

Cultural Interpretations of Delirium Symptoms in the Terminally Ill: A Barrier to Psychiatric Evaluation and Management
Antonio Sison

Comparison Between Dickens’ London in the 1850s and South Africa Today in the Face of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Sally Cameron and Sue Cameron

PART IX Diagnosis: The Receiving End
Medics Facing Cancer
Angela Armstrong-Coster

Between Organizations, Family and Death: Caring Creatively Within the Hospice Organization
Elizabeth Gill

PART X Voluntary Death and Suicide
For Fear of What the Neighbours Might Say: Social Networks and Suicide in Early Modern Holland
Laura Cruz

“Voluntary Death” in Japanese History and Culture
Lawrence Fouraker

Gender, Youth, and Suicide: Life and the Meanings of Death in the Jazz Age
Kathleen Jones

PART XI At the End of Life
“I Think Experience and Gut Feeling Go Together”: Hospice Nurses’ Accounts of the Hours Immediately Preceding and Following Death
ET Waterhouse, C Exley, and M Lloyd-Williams

Notes on Contributors

Laura Cruz is Assistant Professor of History at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA