The History of Mortality: Interdisciplinary Approaches

Karen Bassi
UC Santa Cruz


Raoul Birnbaum
History of Art and Visual Culture
UC Santa Cruz

Juan Campo
Religious Studies
UC Santa Barbara

Inés Hernández-Avila
Native American Studies
UC Davis

Kimberly Lau
UC Santa Cruz

James Lee
Asian American Studies
UC Irvine

Deborah Lefkowitz
Social Ecology
UC Irvine

Susan Morrissey
UC Irvine

Daniel O'Neill
East Asian Languages and Cultures
UC Berkeley

Lisa Raphals
Comparative Literature and Languages
UC Riverside

The fact and consequences of human mortality are principal variables in humanities research. And yet this fact, so often relegated to euphemism, has resisted anything like a comprehensive and sustained interdisciplinary approach. Although the prospects of fearing, facing, and evading death can be found in scholarship in a wide number of disciplines, the study of mortality per se is not a recognized area of research in the humanities. The aim of the Residency was to identify the theoretical and methodological approaches that can initiate and sustain the study of human mortality as a recognized field within the humanities, as a platform for rigorous collaborative research, and as a basis for undergraduate and graduate curricula. The Residency brought together scholars from a variety of fields in the UC system to discuss and debate the interdisciplinary history of mortality as a basis for comparative study, across cultures, disciplines, and historical periods.