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Decolonizing Death Studies

May 6, 2021 , 6:00pm 7:00pm

Gerard Fortune, Gede (Ghede, Guede)

For those not readily familiar, Death Studies (or Death Education) can be defined as the interdisciplinary study of death, dying, burial, and last-rites rituals. In all its variations, it reflects the life of societies—their political systems, social customs, norms, values, and religious beliefs. This evening’s presentation, led by Dr. Kami Fletcher, focuses on how systems of power and privilege were passed through deathways (ways of dying which can also include burial practices, funerals, mourning, and body care), either by force, coercion, or assimilation. She will highlight why it is imperative to recognize how European colonialism has marginalized, trivialized, and outright negated the deathways and death practices of nations, cultures, and persons deemed ‘other’.

Dr. Fletcher is an Associate professor of American & African American History at Albright College. She recently served as editor and contributor to Till Death Do Us Part: American Ethnic Cemeteries as Borders Uncrossed. She is currently co-authoring First 100 Years of Black Undertaking in Baltimore and co-editing Southern Cemeteries, Imprints of Southern Culture. Dr. Fletcher serves as the president for The Collective for Radical Death Studies

This program is presented as part of a new Death Education series at Green-Wood, Death & Us. Death is the great universal, but the ways in which the dead are grieved and memorialized vary across racial, cultural, and economic divides in the United States. This series brings together a myriad of voices—from historians and preservationists to activists and funeral practitioners—to explore how diverse communities mourn and commemorate the departed from our nation’s founding to today.

Free, suggested donation $10. Please consider a donation to Green-Wood when reserving your ticket. Your donation will help ensure that we can continue to provide engaging and thought provoking programs in death education at little or no cost to you. A Zoom link will be in your confirmation email upon registration. 

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