On this page appear the projects and web contributions produced that are best described as anthropological in nature. All teams in the class were required to complete the Interview Project, and all nine appear below. In addition teams produced essays on Near Death Experiences and Mummification. Additionally there is a list of Colors Associated with Death in different cultures.
The Interview Projects featured in this section were produced in response to a specific project assigned by Dr. Sayers. Students were instructed to interview professionals who deal with death in their work. Dr. Sayers intended his students to explore different aspects of death in the professional world. This project was bases on two premises: 1. people who must confront death in their professional life would approach the subject from a different perspective than someone who does not and 2. a profession that deals with death on a daily basis would impact a person in a different manner than another profession, The specifics of the students’ inquiries was at the discretion of the teams, who were to collaboratively reflect on what they expected to find and, after conducting separate interviews, reflect on what they actually found. Below are the details of the assignment as they appeared in the syllabus.
For this project students must interview someone whose profession requires dealing with death or dying, e.g., clergy member (rabbi, priest, minister, etc.), case worker at a hospice, nurse, doctor, lawyer, police officer, emergency personnel, funeral director, etc. Each team member is responsible for interviewing two professionals and teams should coordinate their choices of interviewees to facilitate the synthesis, or contrast, sought in the project (see below). Teams will then meet to synthesize what they learned from their interviews. The project has several parts:
- Formulate questions with which you will conduct the interview.
(Example questions: How do you encounter death in your profession? How frequently do you encounter death? To what extent has your attitude toward death changed since you entered this profession? How is your professional experience with death different than your personal experience with death? Feel free to use questions from the Questionnaire as well.)
- Reflect on what kinds of answers you expect to receive from each professional.
(This should be done in writing, for future reference, since the interview will undoubtedly produce some surprises.)
- Conduct the interview.
(Be sure to: get permission to conduct the interview and use the information garnered therein; find out if it is permissible to use their name in your report; if you want to tape the interview, ask permission; be polite and sensitive, but do not be afraid to ask questions; and do your best to remain open to truly hearing them, try to avoid projecting any of your own ideas onto them.)
- As a team reflect on what you learned in the process.
(Take the time to share findings and talk through what each member discovered before beginning to write your report. This time to ‘process’ is important. Try to identify main questions/issues. Do not be afraid to bring your own experiences to bear on the data you have gathered.)
- Write a report on the interview and reflection process, trying to make the information learned relevant to the material read in class.
(Develop a thesis/theme/main idea that ties together the questions/issues you identified in the last step. Synthesize a cohesive reflection on what you learned about the place of death and dying in the professional world. It should be roughly three pages in length and should convey to the reader something of the experience of people who live professional lives that require they deal with death on a regular basis.
- This report will be submitted to the Peer Review Process described above before being included on the Web Resource.
Professionals and Death
The Nursing Profession and Death
Going to Work with Death
The Acceptance of Death
Religion and Death Professions
Common Links between Death Professionals
Emotion and Death Professions
Professional Death in the Healthcare Field
Near Death Experience
Colors Associated with Death