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About 
End of Life Death Scholars

Broad Topic Areas

At a high level, these are our defined areas and niches of scholarship:

End-of-Life ("EOL")

Death

Grief/Bereavement

General Topics

(Communication Studies & interdisciplinary areas of research)

  • Memorialization/Community Memory

  • Indigenous Death and Dying

  • Marginalized Death

  • LGBTQIA+ Issues in Death/Dying

  • Disenfranchised Grief

  • Ambiguous Loss

  • Rhetorics of Death

  • Suicidality

  • Death and Religion

  • Death and Atheism/Humanism

  • Necropolitics

  • Palliative Care

  • Hospice Care

  • Funeral Industry/Professionalization/Organization(s)

  • Death Doulas

  • Infant Death and Dying

  • Maternal Mortality

  • Technology and Death

  • Social Media and Death

  • Performance Studies; Bereavement, Grief, Dying, and Post-Mortem

Methods

  • Trends in Death/Dying - Quantitative Research

  • Ethnography - Qualitative Research

  • Rhetorical Approaches/Criticism - Qualitative Research

  • Autoethnography - Qualitative Research

  • Mixed Methods

  • Critical Research

  • Discourse Analysis

Mission

We are a group of communication and communication-adjacent scholars whose research intersects around topics of death, dying, mourning, memorialization, and end-of-life communication. We meet semi-weekly to facilitate connections between scholars whose work is too often siloed by subfield divides to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation.

Though we have been established as a predominantly United States-centric group of scholars, we are expanding to include international scholarship on communication, death, and dying. We welcome (and strongly encourage) the opportunity to collaborate with international scholars in our working groups.

Our organization is multifaceted. We recognize that death-related scholarship spans a wide range of subfields — this is both our greatest strength and most difficult challenge. 

At a glance, this is what we do:

  • We network, co-edit, and co-write research predominantly in the Communication Studies discipline. Our topics range broadly across end-of-life, death, and grief/bereavement research niches. 

  • We host regular online events for community, collaboration, and public scholarship.

  • We provide a growing repository of academic support on our Resources page.

  • We support professionals in end-of-life and death care as both research partnerships and valued community members.

We foster meaningful connection by growing a network of death scholars who can support each other’s research interests and projects. By putting death scholars in conversation with each other, we attempt to establish a community of like-minded and diverse individuals who understand the joys and challenges of doing death and dying research and work and can easily collaborate.

We maintain an archive of death-related scholarship produced by communication scholars in years past to facilitate better citational politics and acknowledge our inheritance. By establishing a database of scholarship, we gain a clearer sense of the breadth and depth of scholarly activity surrounding death and dying in the communication discipline.

We foster education by collecting and creating educational resources for our colleagues in the classroom and the field of public scholarship to use when teaching about death-related topics in communication contexts. Our educational efforts endeavor to center issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion by identifying areas of high need where marginalized communities and experiences of death, dying, and end-of-life communication have been routinely overlooked to encourage equitable, vernacular, representative, and restorative scholarship efforts.

We are constantly involved in establishing and supporting a diverse representation of death-centered scholars at academic conferences, conventions, and events. We are currently petitioning several academic organizations for the establishment of official divisions and interest groups.

We are in the process of establishing our central organization as a 501(3)c nonprofit to further our mission of representation, education, archival practices, and community connection.

Values

Our Beliefs

These beliefs are by no means extensive or final, rather, they are meant to communicate some of the central tenets we keep in mind when pursuing research, projects, and communicating about our work.


Death is not a universal experience.
While we all die, we don’t all die in the same way. Inequity and injustice are just as prevalent in death and dying as they are in life. Our work as scholars must address the particularities of death and dying in order to accurately and equitably represent the experience. We believe in opening doors and pathways for inclusive conversations about death and dying.


Death and dying work should serve the communities that it addresses.
We strive to engage with death and dying not just on a theoretical level but also on a practical and applied level. Taking a human-first approach to death and dying means producing work that intervenes on organizational and systemic levels and is accessible to the public.


Death and dying work should be fundamentally anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-ableist, decolonial, and queer-friendly.
We align ourselves with Radical Death Studies in believing that there is no place for discrimination in death and dying research. Likewise, we take a radically inclusive stance on death and dying issues. It is our goal as scholars of death and dying to produce work that constantly calls out and critiques hegemonic structures of power and oppression when we encounter them.


This includes compassionately holding our colleagues accountable and creating an atmosphere for growth and betterment in our own community.


Death and dying work require an attitude of humility, compassion, and curiosity.

As scholars of death and dying, we often engage with topics that are sensitive and emotionally complex. This work requires that we remain humble in order to accept feedback and criticism on our projects, engage compassionately so that we ensure our colleagues and communities feel seen, heard, represented, and respected, and stay curious to always ensure that our work is engaging new trends and issues as they emerge. 

Vision

OUR GOALS

  • Academic Development
    As scholars, we endeavor to create and share the resources needed to foster ethical academics and scholarship. This means explicitly pursuing interdisciplinary work as well as developing scholarship that serves the dignity of both life and death. We must implore academics of death and dying to pursue scholarship that is life-honoring and death-centric, scholarship that serves the community it studies, as opposed to scholarship that merely checks boxes on annual review forms and perpetuates disciplinary divides and methodological hierarchies.

     

  • Professional Development
    We support and encourage the pursuit of excellence in industry and professional positions by nurturing intellectuals to become non-predatory professionals who address and call out the commercialization and fetishization of end-of-life and death care. End-of-life care and the funeral industry must be stewarded by culturally informed and compassionate professionals who want the best for their patrons, living and dead.

     

  • Community Development
    While we have a robust roster of scholars, our community is salient and relevant beyond our individual conference contributions and publications. Mentorship is central to the development of our community and requires that our organization ushers-in new generations of EOL, death, and dying scholars. We are committed to providing resources for early career scholars to thrive instead of being left to “fend for themselves” in an increasingly more competitive academic environment. Rather than competition, this organization prioritizes collaboration for the furthering of our collective scholarship. We welcome questions, relationship-building working groups, and new ways to imagine our relationships to death subjects. 

     

  • Recognition
    This website will continue to recognize and serve the community that researches, organizes, and publishes in the areas of end-of-life, death, grief/bereavement, and post-mortem research.

OUR FUTURE

  • Increasing Interdisciplinarity in Death & Dying Studies 
    Interdisciplinarity is one of the central strengths and foundations of our organization. We will continue to promote and increase interdisciplinary perspectives on death, dying, and EOL work.

     

  • Promoting Healthy Death Awareness
    Death positivity is a recent trend in Western death culture. While death positivity promotes death awareness, it also foments an attitude of toxic positivity. Thoughts and feelings around death are often negative, avoidant, and confused, and those feelings need to be validated in order to be understood and processed. We will promote an attitude of death awareness that encourages individuals and collectives to wrestle with the whole array of emotions and affective experiences surrounding death and dying.

     

  • Advocating for Human Rights in Life and Death
    Inequity in life is perpetuated in death as well. We see the struggle for human rights and bodily autonomy as a struggle that goes hand in hand with issues of death and dying. We pledge to pursue scholarship that centers human rights, especially the right to choose what happens to your body in life, in death, and post-mortem.

     

  • A Global Perspective
    Too often, academic scholarship organizations that begin in the United States center U.S.-specific scholarship. Death is not a homogenous experience, therefore we will continue our commitment to include international scholars in our citational practices, future research collaborations, outreach, and within our working groups.

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History

To read about our history, as an organization,

click the button below:

Information, Navigation,
& Accessibility

RESOURCES

  • The resources page is an online repository of help for early-career scholars, mid-career scholars, and veteran scholars alike.

 

All resource information is free to access without paywalls or other gatekeeping measures. 

WHO IS CURRENTLY INVOLVED?

HOW CAN NEW MEMBERS GET INVOLVED?

WHERE CAN I FIND SUPPORT FOR

MY RESEARCH PROJECT OR EVENT?

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