Humanities Center Speaker Series on Death

Published: September 6th, 2016

Category: Feature, History Department News, Recent News

The History Department is proud to be a sponsor of the 2016-17 Speaker Series from the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere called Death: Confronting the Great Divide. This series invites nationally renowned scholars and filmmakers to explore unique cultural and historical confrontations with death throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Death: Confronting the Great Divide will pose culturally uncomfortable questions: What does death look like in the twenty-first century, and is there such a thing as a “good death”? How do people cope with illness and the loss of loved ones and family pets? What lessons can we learn about how humans understood and coped with death in the pre-modern period? How is loss mitigated by belief in the afterlife?

In the fall, the topics of the talks will be contemporary, ranging from issues such as the implications of political violence on cultural and religious expression in modern society, the environmental repercussions of burying increasingly unnatural human bodies, the role of mobile memorials such as tattoos and car stickers, and digital commemoration of the dead.

The winter and spring will bring consideration of the deaths of our most intimate non-human companions, in addition to discussion of historical instances of individual and collective expressions of religious faith and the afterlife. These talks will focus on the implications of belief in the afterlife as expressed through the medieval cult of relics, late antique concern with purgatorial suffering after death, and Islamic customs commemorating the holy dead in the Maghreb.

The first lecture will take place on September 15th at 5:30 pm in Smathers Library 100. In this lecture, Ignacio Sánchez Prado will show how the erosion of citizenship and the lack of economic opportunity have fueled drug-related violence in Mexico.

The lectures will run about an hour and will be followed by a short question and answer period. For more information about specific events, please visit:

Death: Confronting the Great Divide is sponsored by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), UF Smathers Libraries, UF Office of Research, School of Art + Art History’s Harn Eminent Scholar Lecture Series, UF International Center, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UF Department of History, UF Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, UF Center for Latin American Studies, UF Department of Religion, Alachua County Library District, UF College of Veterinary Medicine, UF Digital Worlds Institute, and the UF Honors Program.



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