Rad Death Blog

Under Block Houses on Zachodnia Street:  Liquidation of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Lodz, Poland: by Lucja Lange

Under Block Houses on Zachodnia Street: Liquidation of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Lodz, Poland: by Lucja Lange

Lodz is an atypical Polish city. Historically it was viewed as the “Promised Land” and “City of Dreams”. Some say that it grew in “American speed.” Industrialization, driven by dreams of wealth and a good life, brought people from around the world, seeking new opportunities. But with this influx of new communities, there grew a need for community …

Death and Dignity: The Exploitation of Corpses in Guanajuato’s Mummy Museum: by Marlene Melissa Davila

Death and Dignity: The Exploitation of Corpses in Guanajuato’s Mummy Museum: by Marlene Melissa Davila

Naked corpses stand alongside each other with expressions of suffering in the dark corridors of the maze-like museum. Where everything is seemingly arranged to shock the viewer. “Welcome to the Mummy Museum, it’s 100 pesos for two tickets.” Says a woman behind the counter. It’s been almost 150 years since the state of Guanajuato in Mexico opened …

Reclaiming Marginalized Deaths through Data Analysis, The Case of Geer Cemetery: by Kaylee P. Alexander, PhD

Reclaiming Marginalized Deaths through Data Analysis, The Case of Geer Cemetery: by Kaylee P. Alexander, PhD

In Plain Sight: Reflections Past & Actions Present in Durham’s Geer Cemetery is an outdoor educational exhibit examining the history of Durham, NC’s first public African American cemetery.  The exhibit runs through April 3, 2021 and is spearheaded by Nicholas Levy and Debra Taylor Gonzales of the Friends of Geer Cemetery (FoGC), a non …

Recording and Recovering the Past: African-American Cemeteries in Athens, Georgia by: Tracy L. Barnett

Recording and Recovering the Past: African-American Cemeteries in Athens, Georgia by: Tracy L. Barnett

African-American cemeteries across the South are vanishing—not from descendants’ memories, but from the physical landscape itself. For decades, infrastructure development and urban renewal projects have disrupted the final resting places of Black men, women, and children. Across the United States, but especially in the South, white city and …

Luxury vs. Obligation: Israelite Burials in 19th-Century Paris by: Kaylee P. Alexander

Luxury vs. Obligation: Israelite Burials in 19th-Century Paris by: Kaylee P. Alexander

In 1804, following decades of cemetery complications in major cities such as Paris, Napoleon issued a series of burial reforms that were to radically transform the ways in which French citizens would henceforth be buried. Still the basis for French burial laws to this day, the Decree of 23 Prairial year XII (June 12, 1804) guaranteed, for the …

Pedro Zamora from MTV’s Real World & Radical Death Activism by: Justin Cook

Pedro Zamora from MTV’s Real World & Radical Death Activism by: Justin Cook

Pedro Zamora was so much more than just one of the stars of the 1993 season of MTV’s The Real World. He was, as his AIDS Quilt patch made very clear – a son, lover, friend, educator, activist, and hero. He was also one of the first openly gay people with HIV to appear on television. But even before his time on The Real World, Zamora was an HIV …

Religion and Maternal Grief by: Danielle Griego, PhD

Religion and Maternal Grief by: Danielle Griego, PhD

“Saint Thomas, long ago you returned my son to me. Why did you give him back, only to cause maternal grief? You cured the illness that caused miserable pain. Woe is me! How have I sinned? What command have I gone against to endure bereavement.”1 Medieval miracle stories, which were collections of miracle accounts used to promote an individual’s …

In Memoriam of Adolescence: Burial of Children in the 19th Century by: Robyn S. Lacy

In Memoriam of Adolescence: Burial of Children in the 19th Century by: Robyn S. Lacy

In early Canadian settler communities, the infant mortality rate was very high making death a more prominent part of their daily lives. In addition, the families were larger making each child death that much harder for parents. As expressed through detailed poems and careful words chosen from the epithets, one can see love and grief was real and …

The Viralization of Black Death & Online Memorialization Practices by: Justin Cook

The Viralization of Black Death & Online Memorialization Practices by: Justin Cook

With the rise of digital media also came a resurgence of the voyeurizing and commodifying of the deaths of Black Americans. I, along with the wisdom of those who came and went before me, theorize that this viralization of Black death is yet another iteration of systemic racism deeply rooted in the history of Blackness as a spectacle. Likewise, as …

Maternal Grief in Medieval Miracle Stories by: Danielle Griego, PhD

Maternal Grief in Medieval Miracle Stories by: Danielle Griego, PhD

Return my daughter to me, Martyr Thomas! If anyone is the cause of this accident, it is me, her mother alone that must bear the blame for the crime, for it is I who did not send someone to supervise her from the dangers of childhood! I should have sent someone, but I was blind. Woe is me! Before God a crime of negligence has happened.1 Medieval …

Why Are All the Wax Heads Caucasian? by: Sandi Baker

Why Are All the Wax Heads Caucasian? by: Sandi Baker

Sitting at our desks while fidgeting in our mostly functional lab chairs, my mortuary science classmates and I waited in anticipation. It was the start of a new semester, a very exciting one at that, because this was the beginning of our Restorative Arts class. We aimlessly chattered, glancing around the room examining the skulls which would soon …

Chinese Miners’ Burials in British Columbia by: Robyn S. Lacy

Chinese Miners’ Burials in British Columbia by: Robyn S. Lacy

Today I’d like to discuss the often overlooked contributions of the Chinese miners who traveled to British Columbia (BC) in the mid-late 19th century to seek their fortunes during the Fraser Valley and Wild Horse River Gold Rushes. It would be an understatement to say that Canadian history has been whitewashed by European and Euro-Canadian points …

Cultural Death Illiteracy as Applied Terror Management Theory by: Dr. Tamara Waraschinski

Cultural Death Illiteracy as Applied Terror Management Theory by: Dr. Tamara Waraschinski

Born and reared in Germany, as well as lived in Australia for a little over a third of my life, I never envisioned experiencing such a cultural shock moving to the United States three years ago.  I just couldn’t imagine that there would be such a difference between Western countries that supposedly share the same cultural values of …

Coroner’s Inquests as a Source for Radical Death Studies by: Sarah Lirley McCune, PhD

Coroner’s Inquests as a Source for Radical Death Studies by: Sarah Lirley McCune, PhD

In late-nineteenth-century St. Louis, white, middle-to-upper-class, college-educated men conducted death investigations to determine how and why someone came to an unexpected or suspicious death.  A similar practice was carried out in many other American cities.  Although they had professional training as physicians and followed …

A Cemetery Angel and the American HIV/AIDS Crisis by: Justin Cook

A Cemetery Angel and the American HIV/AIDS Crisis by: Justin Cook

Pictured above is the AIDS Quilt Project, perhaps the most recognizable memorial for victims of HIV/AIDS. The quilt is a collection of hand-made fabric squares memorializing those lost to HIV/AIDS. The quilt includes celebrities such as Freddie Mercury and Michel Foucault, but more often than not the names were those of everyday people. For some, …

Child Death and Parental Mourning in the Middle Ages by: Danielle Griego, PhD

Child Death and Parental Mourning in the Middle Ages by: Danielle Griego, PhD

Child, you are a pilgrim born in sin you wander in this treacherous world, look ahead! Death is hiding around a dark corner with a gust to cast down the kin of Adam as he has done before Childyour days are numbered, your travels planned, whichever way you go, north or east, Death shall happen to you with bitter misery in your breast.1 Unlike the …

Decolonizing Death Studies by: Kami Fletcher, PhD

Decolonizing Death Studies by: Kami Fletcher, PhD

For those not readily familiar, Death Studies can be defined as the interdisciplinary study of death, dying, burial, and last rites rituals.  Scholars, students, and healthcare professionals alike use death as a lens to understand or even construct past civilizations and cultures.  Archeologists use cemeteries to do the deep dives into …

The #RadDeathStudiesBlog

The #RadDeathStudiesBlog

This is an Exorcism of Death Studies – scholarship by Death Scholars, Death Practitioners, Death Studies Studies who are decolonizing the cannon, while calling for more inclusive deathways …

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