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Laughing in the Face of Death: Christian Seiter's Interview with NPR

“My wife has me on a twenty-minute a day limit talking about death so it’s kind of nice to have someone else to speak with,” quips Cal State, Fullerton Assistant Professor, Christian Seiter. In a recent spot on NPR, Christian spotlights the state of death, dying, and grief research in the discipline of communication while discussing his research on the use of humor to talk about end-of-life planning.


Christian’s interview, which you can listen to here, comes at a time when death and dying scholars and activists are rethinking and reinvisioning what a good death looks like and how to help people navigate the landscape of end-of-life planning, death, grief, and mourning.


As Christian’s research finds, utilizing humor is an effective was of engaging people in conversations about death and dying in a way that makes a daunting and taboo topic more easily accessible. “To what extent is [humor] helping the movement with its goal which is to bring conversation about death into the light to help people get the tools that they need to understand ‘What is my relationship with death?’” Seiter asks rhetorically, commenting on the impetus of the death positive movement to use humor, especially dark and profane humor, to discuss death.



Christian recently join the Advisory Board for the End-of-Life and Death Scholars and is an active member of the death communication scholarly community. We eagerly look forward to Christian’s continued work as a member of the death, dying, and grief community.

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