Death is something we all confront—it touches our families, our homes, our hearts. And yet we have grown used to denying its existence, treating it as an enemy to be beaten back with medical advances.
We are living at a unique point in human history. People are living longer than ever, yet the longer we live, the more taboo and alien our mortality becomes. Yet we, and our loved ones, still remain mortal. People today still struggle with this fact, as we have done throughout our entire history. What led us to this point? What drove us to sanitize death and make it foreign and unfamiliar?
Schillace shows how talking about death, and the rituals associated with it, can help provide answers. It also brings us closer together—conversation and community are just as important for living as for dying. Some of the stories are strikingly unfamiliar; others are far more familiar than you might suppose. But all reveal much about the present—and about ourselves.
Author, historian, and public intellectual, Dr. Brandy Schillace seeks to uncover the human stories at the center of science and medicine. She is Senior Research Associate and Public Engagement Fellow for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History and Editor in Chief of BMJ’s Medical Humanities Journal. Recent publications include Death's Summer Coat (a cultural history of death and dying) and Clockwork Futures (steampunk science in the age of manufactured power). She has appeared on public radio, local television, and most recently, the Travel Channel’s "Mysteries at the Museum" season premier.
Other textbooks only show how others have analyzed and interpreted the world. Doing Cultural Theory takes it a step further and teaches students step-by-step how to do cultural theory for themselves.
The contributions here specifically focus on a wide variety of issues ranging from the ideological construction of identities in print media to the narratives of the postmodern condition in film and fiction, through investigations into youth, the dialogue between the canon and the popular in Shakespeare, and the so-called topographies of the popular in spatial and visual representation. In exploring the interface between cultural studies and popular culture through a number of significant case studies, this volume will be of interest not only within the fields of cultural studies, but also within media and communication studies, film studies, and gender studies, among others.
In part, Topographies of Popular Culture takes its cue from recent theorisations of spatiality in the field of critical theory, and from such global transformations as the processes and after-effects of decolonisation and globalisation. It contemplates the spatiality of genre and the interactions between the local and the global, as well as the increasing circulation and adaptation of popular texts across the globe. The ten individual chapters analyse the spaces of popular culture at a scale that extends from an individual’s everyday experience to genuinely global questions, offering new theoretical and analytical insights into the relation between spatiality and the popular.
Tagore's concern was with life, play and contingency-with the momentary as well as the eternal. It is this strain of unacknowledged modernism and life-affirming vision that make his work powerful. A believer in freedom of the individual, creative freedom and freedom of all, his words are as pertinent in today's context as they were in his time.
This volume analyses how the constrictions of the specificities of place, location and geographies have always been interrogated by Tagore for whom space was a defining trope. With contributions from some leading Tagore experts both from India and abroad, this volume enables us to re-read Tagore as a messenger of world harmony and peace.
The gear turns, the whistle blows, and the billows expand with electro-mechanical whirring. The shimmering halo of Victorian technology lures us with the stuff of dreams, of nostalgia, of alternate pasts and futures that entice with the suave of James Bond and the savvy of Sherlock Holmes. Fiction, surely.
But what if the unusual gadgetry so often depicted as “steampunk” actually made an appearance in history? Zeppelins and steam-trains; arc-lights and magnetic rays: these fascinating (and sometimes doomed) inventions bounded from the tireless minds of unlikely heroes. Such men and women served no secret societies and fought no super-villains, but they did build engines, craft automatons, and engineer a future they hoped would run like clockwork.
Along the way, however, these same inventors ushered in a contest between desire and dread. From Newton to Tesla, from candle and clockwork to the age of electricity and manufactured power, technology teetered between the bright dials of fantastic futures and the dark alleyways of industrial catastrophe.
In the mesmerizing Clockwork Futures, Brandy Schillace reveals the science behind steampunk, which is every bit as extraordinary as what we might find in the work of Jules Verne, and sometimes, just as fearful. These stories spring from the scientific framework we have inherited. They shed light on how we pursue science, and how we grapple with our destiny—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.
Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.
Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. The best questions come from kids. What would happen to an astronaut’s body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking funeral?
In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, Doughty blends her mortician’s knowledge of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five distinctive questions posed by her youngest fans. In her inimitable voice, Doughty details lore and science of what happens to, and inside, our bodies after we die. Why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? And why do hair and nails appear longer after death? Readers will learn the best soil for mummifying your body, whether you can preserve your best friend’s skull as a keepsake, and what happens when you die on a plane.
Beautifully illustrated by Dianné Ruz, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? shows us that death is science and art, and only by asking questions can we begin to embrace it.
Armed with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre, Caitlin Doughty took a job at a crematory and turned morbid curiosity into her life’s work. She cared for bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, and became an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. In this best-selling memoir, brimming with gallows humor and vivid characters, she marvels at the gruesome history of undertaking and relates her unique coming-of-age story with bold curiosity and mordant wit. By turns hilarious, dark, and uplifting, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes reveals how the fear of dying warps our society and "will make you reconsider how our culture treats the dead" (San Francisco Chronicle).