Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

History C191

Spring 2015
Day & Time: 
TuTh 200-330P

his course is jointly offered by a physician and a historian. We will discuss contemporary questions of policy and practice: medical definitions of death; the "right to die;" how we die, and how we say we want to die; the role of the hospital and 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 at 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 death.