Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Medical Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Health
Secondary Theme: Resistance
In their annual review article “The Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life,” Kaufman and Morgan survey the bodies of intersectional work that, since the 1990s, anthropologists have generated from the core to the margins of birth and death (2005). Underlining the importance they place upon how historical frameworks inform later work, we propose a compounded revisitation of earlier influences in the field alongside more recent scholarship. In consideration of the conference theme, paper proposals demonstrate the sustained, multifarious, and overlapping aspects of death, dying, and bereavement. Each paper may resurrect or deal afresh with earlier concepts and matters such as ritual and religion, the postmortem treatment of bodies and burial. Alternatively, they may deal with the continually evolving landscape of dying centering around topics such as medicalized dying, biomedical identification of death, (Lock 1996; Kaufman 2005, 2015), critical and cross cultural reflections on a “good death” (Del Vecchio Good 2004, Green 2008), decision-making in end-of life care (Chapple 2003), or death at the start of life (Scheper-Hughes 1992). Subjects impacted by political-economic conditions and citizenship; bioethics, laws, institutional or professional policy; or public opinion surrounding end-of-life interventions are also included. This panel aims to broadly showcase and highlight anthropology’s transcendence in death studies by focusing on the different ways anthropologists have and continue to study death and dying, the ways that death and dying are re-imagined, and their relevance and situatedness within a broader framework of health care.
Chapple, Helen S. 2003. “Could She Be Dying? Dis-orders of Reality Around Death in an American Hospital,”
Anthropology and Humanism, 27(2):165-184.
Del Vecchio Good, Mary-Jo, Nina M. Gadamer, Patricia Ruopp, Matthew Lakoma, Amy M. Sullivan, Ellen Redinbaugh, Robert M. Arnold, and Susan D. Block, “Narrative Nuances on Good and Bad Deaths: Internists’ Tales from High-Technology Work Places,” Social Science and Medicine 58:939-953.
Green, James W. Green. 2008. Beyond the Good Death: the Anthropology of Modern Dying. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Kaufman, Sharon R. 2005. And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
2015. Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, and Where to Draw the Line. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Kaufman, Sharon R. and Lynn Morgan. 2005. “The Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life,”
Annual Review of Anthropology, 34: 317-341.
Lock, Margaret. 1996. “Death in Technological Time: Locating the End of Meaningful Life,” Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 10(4): 575-600.
Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.