Death and Dying, Yesterday and Today

History C191

Fall 2005
126 Barrows
Day & Time: 
TuTh 9:30-11

This course is jointly offered by a physician and a historian. We will discuss contemporary questions of policy and practice: medical definitions of death; the Ñright to die;â how we die and how we say we want to die; the role of the hospital and the hospice; the functions of the State in mediating between various views about the end of life; the role of doctors, family, and others at the end of life, for example. We will also consider questions in the social and cultural history of death: how and in what numbers people have died before and after the demographic revolution; whether some cultures were more successful in assuaging the pain of death than others, whether there really has been a secularization of death; where bodies have gone and how they have been remembered; what the relationship is between the history of life and of death. One of the instructors, Guy Micco, MD, was chair of the Alta Bates ethics committee for many years, regularly teaches medical humanities as well as clinical courses in the Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, and is a consultant in palliative care. The other instructor, Thomas Laqueur, has taught about the history of the body in various contexts and is completing a book on the history of death called The Dead Among the Living.


New Room!
Also listed as HMEDSCI C133 and UGIS C133.