The Death Seminar

New School for Social Research: Anthropology

Liberal Arts
Graduate Course
Degree Students (with Restrictions)
The Death Seminar
Spring 2024
Taught By: Abou Farman
Section: A

CRN: 14782

Credits: 3

This year’s death seminar will focus on the afterlife. Anthropology along with other social science research conducted from a secular perspective has mainly treated engagements with the afterlife as epistemological oddity, ontological conundrum, or political ruse. Eschewing these positions, this class will once and for all answer all questions regarding the afterlife. Just kidding. But we will pay attention to the new ways in which the afterlife as a political category and an affective as well as sensory orientation is becoming theorized and practiced through post-human, post-secular and decolonial approaches. What is it to inhabit the afterlife today as an appropriate ethical response to this era of upheavals, social and planetary? How can it be thought and how is it being done? Through what senses, practices and politics are afterlives engaged and what are our forms of exchange with the dead? What can this bring to politics in terminal times? Reading ethnography, history and theory, we will consider such themes as: life and ethics in the shadow of extermination and extinction; technoscientific resurrection projects and ecogrief; revenants and ghosts that make their politics known, sometimes in protest, sometimes in court; the rise of mediums in post-Mao China, and spirits and ancestors in afrodiasporic practices of co-presencing; transhumanist immortality projects and digital avatars as responses to the secular question of personhood and consciousness; the hypercommodification of the dead in capitalist supermarkets and the image economy; and other forms of problematic, creative and political exchange with the dead.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Anthropology (ANT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:48pm EDT 6/19/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Thursday
Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 704
Date Range: 1/25/2024 - 5/9/2024