Religious Studies | The Living and the Dead
R270 | 10054 | Campany


Members of human societies, when they die, do not completely and
immediately disappear.  From the perspective of living persons, the
dead live on in various ways, and the living interact with them from
the moment of death onward.  Religious traditions have sought to
characterize the state of being of dead persons and have often
provided ways for the living to relate to them.  The main question
to be asked in the course is: How are the dead conceived of in
religions and cultures?  Other questions follow from this one, such
as: What sorts of relations have the living engaged in with the
dead?  How are conceptions and images of the dead related to other
aspects of religions and cultures?  How have religions and cultures
expressed their views of the dead?  Is there an explanation for the
main similarities in the conception and treatment of dead humans
across cultures and religions?  What sorts of data, and what sorts
of approaches, would allow us to pursue these issues fruitfully?
This course seeks answers to these and similar questions. Readings
are drawn from many sources and assembled into one modest-sized
course packet. Visual materials are incorporated. Requirements
center on short (2-3 page) writing assignments. *This course has an
optional, 1 credit service learning component.