Summer 2003
Fully Enrolled

SCIE 624
The Psychology of Death and Dying

Anthony,Kelly A.

06/23/2003 - 06/27/2003
Monday-Friday 08:30 AM - 05:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 421

This course will examine the final stage of life in terms of its psychological, biological/physiological, cognitive, emotional, legal, religious, and intellectual effects for both those dying and their loved ones. We will consider the psychological impact of knowing that one's self or a loved one is dying, we will study medical questions of the relationship between cognition and brain function in legally defining death, and we will explore the hospital industry that ultimately depends on, yet exists to prevent or at least delay, death.

This course is designed to expose you to some of the myriad ways both death and dying have been interpreted, treated, and studied in the physical sciences, literature, religion, film, visual art, and philosophy. We will read several books and articles, as well as see several films on the subject, and attempt to shine some light on these most mysterious (and most feared) stages of life; dying and actual death. Together we will explore questions, from how one ascertains the actual physiological moment of death, to how various cultures envision and approach death, to how we each might imagine (or choreograph) our own deaths, funerals, and aftermaths. We will place special emphasis on how people respond to and perceive death, and how such responses and perceptions are influenced by others and by culture-especially but not exclusively American culture. We will hear from professionals who work in the "business of death"-funeral directors, hospice care workers, and medical doctors specializing in end-of-life care.

Assignments to be completed in advance of course. See GLSP Web site for further information.


Kelly Anthony (B.A. Rutgers University Camden; M.A., Ph.D. University of Houston) is a visiting assistant professor of psychology at Wesleyan University. Her research interests include applied social psychology with a special interest in cross-cultural issues of attribution and blame, political psychology, and women's studies. She was invited to present "Truly Evil or Simply Angry: Attributions regarding the World Trade Center Attackers" at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the New England Psychological Association.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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