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Durham University

Durham University Centre for Death and Life Studies


First International Death Online Research Symposium

April 9th - 10th, 2014

Hosted by the Death Online Research Network and the Centre for Death and Life Studies Durham University, UK
As digital media have become an integral part of our everyday life, so have also death and our afterlife become inextricably interwoven with technology. Marking the formation of an international research network within the field, the first Death Online Research Symposium will focus on current research into the digital mediation of dying, death, mourning and personal legacy, in order to explore and discuss how online connectivity is changing how, when and where we engage with death.
Keynote speakers at the symposium will be Professor Tony Walters (Director of the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath) and Professor Douglas Davies (Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies, Durham University).
The symposium will include presentations of research within the following areas: memorial sites online; explorations of new ways of grieving though social media; the use of digital technologies in graveyards, woodland burial grounds and crematoria; the deaths of fictional and gaming characters; the discussion of problems related to the digital afterlife and the inheritance of digital property; and other perspectives on the impact digital technology has had on everyday practices in the context of death and mourning in the 21st century.
You can find more information on the conference website here. The symposium programme is here, and the conference registration page is here.

The 'Invisible Dead' and the development of Early Human Beliefs about the Body 

A project of the Department of Anthropology at Durham University, the 'Invisible Dead' is co-investigated by Prof Douglas Davies of the Centre for Death and Life Studies. By examining archaeological data from across two regions (Britain and the Levant) this project will provide a new understanding of the emergence of religious belief and self-awareness, as well as charting changing concepts of what it means to be human. Explored are issues of the temporal, social and economic contexts of changing relationships between human soci-religious beliefs and concepts of the body and the afterlife. Do burials represented in the archaeological record of Britain and the Levant constitute the 'mainstream' or are they the result of highly specific selection processes? For further information about the project, visit their website here.


Seeing beyond in facing death: Spirituality from sick body to salvation – Contents, care and relationships in different cultures

September 25-27, 2014 - Padova (Pauda) Italy

“Seeing beyond” is an international multi-disciplinary conference which explores th cultural processes of dying and death representations, analyzing the different ways culture impacts care for the dying. Over the past few decades, scholarship in the End-of-Life field has increased dramatically. “Seeing beyond” wants to develop dialogue amongst the different perspectives that explore and analyze the interrelations and interactions between death, as well as the different cultural viewpoints of spirituality.

“Seeing beyond” welcomes submissions that produce conversations engaging in medical, psychological, philosophical, religious, sociological, historical, ethnographic, normative, literary, anthropological, artistic, political or other terms that elaborate a relationship between death, spirituality, care-cure and culture.

Since the scientific research in this field is widely developed, “Seeing beyond” presents a state of the art study and responses to the question about the meaning of death and how to deal with it, focusing on the spiritual dimension and how it intervenes in care practices. Because Western society is now increasingly multiethnic and multireligious, “Seeing beyond” assumes different Weltanschauungen within which the spiritual dimension is considered crucial; showing the anthropologically vital and complex intertwining between medical-psychological and philosophical-spiritual approaches toward death.

Authors are invited to submit a 600 word abstract by March 30, 2014 to For further information please visit the conference website at