The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife

Edited By

Candi K. Cann

ISBN 9781138682160
Published June 29, 2018 by Routledge
416 Pages

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Book Description

This Handbook traces the history of the changing notion of what it means to die and examines the many constructions of afterlife in literature, text, ritual, and material culture throughout time. The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting subject. Comprising twenty-nine chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into three parts and covers the following important themes:

  • The study of dying, death, and grief

  • Disposal of the dead: past, present, and future

  • Representations of death: narratives and rhetoric

  • Youth meets death: a juxtaposition

  • Questionable deaths and afterlives: suicide, ghosts, and avatars

  • Material corpses and imagined afterlives around the world

Within these sections, central issues, debates, and problems are examined, including: the world of death and dying from various cultural viewpoints and timeframes, cultural and social constructions of the definition of death, disposal practices, and views of the afterlife.

The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife is essential reading for students and researchers in religious studies, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Study of Dying, Death and Grief: An Overview

Chapter 1: Introduction by Candi K. Cann

Chapter 2: State of the Field of Death in the United States by George E. Dickinson

Chapter 3: Brain Death and the Politics of Religion by Donald Joralemon

Chapter 4: Understanding Grief: Theoretical Perspectives by Kenneth J. Doka

Part II: Disposal of the Dead: Past, Present and Future

Chapter 5: Symbolizing Imperial Affiliation in Death: Case Studies from the Inka Empire (AD 1400-1532) by Colleen Zori

Chapter 6: The Romanian Orthodox Church and Issues of Cremation by Marius Rotar

Chapter 7: Reframing Sites of the Dead in Brazil by Renato Cymbalista & Aline Silva Santos

Chapter 8: Stand By Me: The Fear of Solitary Death and the Need for Social Bonds in Contemporary Japan by Chikako Ozawa-de-Silva

Chapter 9: Politics of Death and Mortuary Rituals in Trinidadian Hinduism by Priyanka Ramlakhan

Chapter 10: The Right to be Dead: Designing Future Cemeteries by Jakob Borrits Sabra & John Troyer

Part III: Representations of Death: Narratives and Rhetoric

Chapter 11: Post-Mortem (2010): Saint Salvador Allende and Historical Autopsy by Moisés Park

Chapter 12: Mourning Deaths and Constructing Afterlives in the Red Army at War by Steven G. Jug

Chapter 13: Corpses That Preach: Óscar Romero and the Martyred Priests of El Salvador by Mandy Rodgers-Gates

Chapter 14: Photographing Human Finitude: Philosophical Reflections on Photographs of Death by Mathew A. Crawford

Chapter 15: De Imago to Word: The Exile of the Dead from Parish Symbolism in Reformation England by Lacy K. Crocker Papadakis

Part IV: Youth Meets Death: A Juxtaposition

Chapter 16: The Comprehension of Death and Afterlife in Children by Ramiro Tau

Chapter 17: The Effects of Parental Death on Religiosity within an American Context by Renae Wilkinson

Chapter 18: Ashes to Ashes: Continuing Bonds in Young Adulthood in the Netherlands by Renske Visser

Part V: Questionable Deaths and Afterlives: Suicide, Ghosts & Avatars

Chapter 19: Exeunt: The Question of Suicide at the Origin of Early Christianity by Michael J. Thate

Chapter 20: How Not to Become A Ghost: Tales of Female Suicide Martyrs in Sixteenth-Century Vietnamese 'Transmissions of Marvels' (truyền kỳ) by Cuong T. Mai

Chapter 21: The Cat Came Back: Revenant Pets and the Paranormal Everyday by Sara Knox

Chapter 22: From Ancestors to Avatars: Transfiguring the Afterlife by Jenny Huberman

Part VI: Material Corpses and Imagined Afterlives Around the World

Chapter 23: From the Underworld of Yama to the Island of Gems: Concepts of Afterlife in Hinduism by June McDaniel

Chapter 24: A Broad Survey of Zulu Ancestor Veneration and the Challenges it Faces by Radikobo Ntsimane

Chapter 25: Death and Life in a Pluralistic Society: Boundary-Making and Boundary-Crossing in Sino-Burmese-Tibetan Borderlands by Keping Wu

Chapter 26: Viking Death: Pre-Christian Rites of Passage and Funerary Feasting by Davide Zori

Chapter 27: Death, Resurrection and the World to Come: Jewish Views on Death and Afterlife by Nicholas R. Werse

Chapter 28: The Afterlife and Death: An Islamic Perspective by David Oualaalou

Chapter 29: Coffins, Candles, and Cameras—Aspects

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Candi K. Cann is an Associate Professor of Religion in the Honors College at Baylor University, USA.


"A veritable feast of insights on a vast range of intriguing topics related to death and dying, this Handbook takes up issues of the afterlife, grief, corpses, ghosts, revenant pets, and much more, from diverse cultural perspectives and time periods."

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, University of San Diego, USA