The Routledge History of Death since 1800  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge History of Death since 1800

Edited By

Peter N. Stearns

ISBN 9780367549862
Published March 20, 2022 by Routledge
568 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $51.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The Routledge History of Death Since 1800 looks at how death has been treated and dealt with in modern history – the history of the past 250 years – in a global context, through a mix of definite, often quantifiable changes and a complex, qualitative assessment of the subject.

The book is divided into three parts, with the first considering major trends in death history and identifying widespread patterns of change and continuity in the material and cultural features of death since 1800. The second part turns to specifically regional experiences, and the third offers more specialized chapters on key topics in the modern history of death. Historical findings and debates feed directly into a current and prospective assessment of death, as many societies transition into patterns of ageing that will further alter the death experience and challenge modern reactions. Thus, a final chapter probes this topic, by way of introducing the links between historical experience and current trajectories, ensuring that the book gives the reader a framework for assessing the ongoing process, as well as an understanding of the past.

Global in focus and linking death to a variety of major developments in modern global history, the volume is ideal for all those interested in the multifaceted history of how death is dealt with in different societies over time and who want access to the rich and growing historiography on the subject.

Chapter 1 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license at

Table of Contents

Part 1: General Patterns and Connections

1. Patterns Of Death, 1800-2020: Global Rates And Causes

Romola Davenport

2. Mass Death During Modern Epidemics: Horrors and Their Consequences

Samuel Cohn

3. Violent Death

Philip Dwyer

4. Suicidology on the Cusp of Modernity: Sociology and Psychiatry in the 19th Century

David Lederer

5. Death-Seeking Turns Political:  A Historical Template For Terrorism

Anna Geifman

6. Toward a World Without the Death Penalty

Jon Yorke and Alice Storey

7. The Cemetery

Erin-Marie Legacey

8. Death, Commemoration, and the Era Of Total War In Europe

Jesse Kauffman

9. The Transformation of Death Discourse: From ‘Taboo’ to ‘Revival’ at the Threshold of the New Millennium

Michael Hviid Jacobsen

Part 2: Regional Patterns

10. “Why may not man be one day immortal?”: Rethinking Death in the Age of Enlightenment

Joseph Clarke

11. "Now for the Grand Secret:" A History of the Post-Mortem Identity and Heavenly Reunions, 1800-2000

John C. Weaver and Doug Munro

12. Death in Modern North American History

Peter N. Stearns

13. Death In Mexico: Image And Reality

Stanley Brandes

14. Death in Modern Japan (1800—2020)

Timothy Benedict

15. Picturing the Dead in Early Twentieth-Century China: Bodies, Burial, and the Photography of the Chinese Red Cross Burial Corps

Caroline Reeves

16. Remaking the Hindu Pyre: Cremation in India since the 1830s

David Arnold

17. Muslim Beliefs About Death; From Classical Formulations To Modern Applications

Abdulaziz Sachedina

18. Death in Africa: A History c.1800 to Present Day

Rebekah Lee and Megan Vaughan

19. Rituals Of Death In The Caribbean Diaspora, 1970-: The Immigrant Dilemmas

Garrey Michael Dennie

Part 3: Special Topics

20. Premature Burial and the Mysteries of Death

Joanna Bourke

21. Murdering Mothers and Dutiful Daughters: Infanticide in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Mexico

Nora E. Jaffary

22. ‘I wish we could have saved him for you’: Australia’s experience of death and bereavement in war, 1914-1918

Jen Roberts

23. Soviet Cemeteries

Svetlana Malysheva

24. Death in Modern Film

Thomas Britt

25. Of Presidential Mausoleums and Politics in Neo-Liberal Zambia, 2008 to 2018

Walima T. Kalusa and Kelvin Chanda

26. Celebrating Creation and Commemorating Life: Ritualizing Pet Death in the U.S. and Japan

Barbara R. Ambros

27. Hospice: A Way to Die

Lucy Bregman

28. “A Profound Shift In Policy”: The History Of Assisted Suicide

Ian Dowbiggin

29. Conclusion: Future Trajectories of Death: Speculations and Raising Questions

Cortney Hughes Rinker

View More



Peter N. Stearns is University Professor of History at George Mason University, USA.