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Vision and Values

Organizational 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.

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 The Collective for Radical Death Studies in believing (and practicing) 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.

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