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“Seeing the Difference”: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Death, Dying, Humanities, and Medicine

Abstract

This essay explores how strategies integral to inquiry in the humanities provide insights into developing an interdisciplinary approach to studies of death and dying that will be relevant to medical practice as well as to humanistic study. The author asks how we can produce new modes of knowledge in an area where “knowing” is highly problematized and argues that while a putative field of death and dying studies must include a range of disciplinary approaches it must also account for lived, subjective experience and the ways that we, as individuals and as a culture, create meaning.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Barreca, “Writing as Voodoo,” 174.

  2. 2.

    Gillis, Seeing the Difference: Conversations on Death and Dying, 106. All subsequent references to this work appear in the text.”

  3. 3.

    Kaufman, “Narrative, Death, and the Uses of Anthropology,” 342–364.

  4. 4.

    Schleifer, “Walter Benjamin and the Crisis of Representation: Multiplicity, Meaning, and Athematic Death,” 313.

  5. 5.

    Bauman, Mortality, Immortality and Other Life Strategies, 152, 163.

References

  1. Barreca R (1993) “Writing as Voodoo: Sorcery, Hysteria, and Art.” In Bronfen E, Goodwin SW (eds.) Death and Representation. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore.

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  2. Bauman Z (1992) Mortality, Immortality and Other Life Strategies. Stanford University Press, Stanford.

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  3. Gillis CM (2001), ed. Seeing the Difference: Conversations on Death and Dying, D.B. Townsend Center Occasional Papers, Nos. 24–25. All subsequent references to this publication are provided in the text.

  4. Kaufman S (2000) “Narrative, Death, and the Uses of Anthropology.” In Cole TR, Kastenbaum R, Ray RE (eds.) Handbook of the Humanities and Aging. Springer, New York.

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  5. Schleifer R (1993) “Walter Benjamin and the Crisis of Representation: Multiplicity, Meaning, and Athematic Death” In Bronfen E, Goodwin SW (eds.) Death and Representation. JHP, B.

    Google Scholar 

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Correspondence to Christina Marsden Gillis.

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Gillis, C.M. “Seeing the Difference”: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Death, Dying, Humanities, and Medicine. J Med Humanit 27, 105–115 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-006-9009-6

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Keywords

  • Death and dying
  • Loss
  • Art
  • Bereavement