Life and Death: Global Perspectives
Anthropological investigation of customs, practices, and beliefs that get activated when people (and other living beings) die. What constitutes life as in when does it start, what determines well-being, how is it measured; and what constitutes death as in a good versus bad death, by what medical definition, and according to what rituals and beliefs. Comparative inquiry into such questions as why brain-death is not accepted in some cultures and why people in some places prefer to die rather than live after an amputation. Topics will include organ transplants, gang warfare, cancer, and war zones from China and Botswana to Mexico and the United States. One course.