Virtually Dead: Religion in the Age of the Internet (Religion in American History blog post)
This past spring, I taught a digital humanities course on American Dead and Undead. The premise of the course was fairly simple: we shouldn't study the dead and undead in isolation from one another. Following the lead of Philippe Ariès, many scholars have argued that Americans have lost a language for talking about death and increasingly have delegated death rites to professional personnel and spaces. If so, have the undead provided us with a new space and vocabulary for publicly talking about dying and what happens to us after death? To answer this question, my students and I turned to a wide range of artifacts (real and virtual) to look at what Americans from the colonial era to the present think happens when we die. We also looked at the rise of the undead in the American imagination and thought about correlations between the narratives of dead and undead. Click on link to read more...
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