Death and Dying - Narratives and Practices

Online course by Lund University (7,5 credits), 50% study pace
26 Mar 2021 05 Jun 2021
Target Group
Students all level, all subject areas
Lund University
Closed  (Deadline: 11 Mar 2021 23:59)

MEMENTO MORI! Remember that you will die. This is a course for you who want to discuss, reflect and learn more about perspectives of and practices around dying, death and mourning in contemporary society.


Death is the single most democratic thing in existence. Sooner or later, everyone dies. Still, death is one of the greatest mysteries known to humanity. This course introduces the field of death studies, covering rhetorical, social and cultural aspects of death and dying. Within the course you will learn about how death is understood in western contemporary society by looking at narratives, practices and institutions of dying, death and mourning.

The course content:

The course focuses on discussions of different types of rhetorical and cultural practices, institutions and rituals of death and dying in contemporary society. We discuss contexts of medial as well as cultural and social conditions for the practices, institutions and rituals of death Within the course you will learn key theoretical perspectives on death in late modernity, historical developments in the cultural views, practices and institutions of death. You’ll also be working different ethical issues of institutions and representations of death and dying In workshops, seminars and lectures you analyse and discuss literary and media representations of death and dying. We also work with media representations and social practices while taking into account relevant scientific, cultural and social aspects of death.

Some topics that will be covered during the course:

  • Media representations of death, risk and notable deaths
  • The end of life and the social death
  • The hospice movement
  • Debates on palliative care and euthanasia
  • The rhetoric of the good death
  • Personal narratives of disease and dying
  • Rituals of burial and remembrance
  • The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning
  • The breakdown of protocols of death during the Covid19 pandemic

After the course:

You will be well versed in how to think about death as a cultural and social practice. Whether you are working in a death profession, have an academic interest in death as a cultural phenomenon or just want to learn more of different perspectives regarding end of life, you’ll be suited with theories and reflections on how to approach death.