Death and Mortality in the Humanities and Social Sciences: Postgraduate Conference

Postgraduate scholars across the University of Oxford are conducting research into cultural, psychological and social aspects of death and mortality. This conference, running online over two afternoons on the 19th and 26th of November, offers an insight into some of their work and findings.

Six successive panels will reflect on six overarching questions about the human experience of death, and the existential problems it raises:

Scholars of theology, literature and history will ask how societies and individuals have used religious frameworks to offer consolation in the face of death, suffering and bereavement. Global historians and anthropologists will examine human experiences of the deaths of non-humans. Archaeologists and historians will discuss the commemoration of death and loss in monuments and artefacts, and how we might understand these monuments in the twenty-first century.

On the second conference day, a range of scholars will present their research on death and identity, asking how the experience of bereavement or reflection on one’s own mortality might shape selfhood, gender and class relations now and in the past. Philosophers and historians will explore feelings of grief and their representation in contemporary popular culture versus in historic literature. Lastly, a variety of artistic representations of dying, ageing and illness will be discussed, from contemporary Western images of terminal illness to twelfth-century Byzantine death inscriptions, exploring how death and pain are visualised in different societies at different times.

All are encouraged to attend and join the discussion – please contact for the conference programme and list of abstracts.

This conference has been generously funded by the Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute.


Day One:
Meeting ID: 846 5776 8921
Passcode: 4HKScr

Day Two:
Meeting ID: 898 3352 9286
Passcode: 0ZKaKs

Organiser: Eleanor Kerfoot, Faculty of History
Co-organiser: Edward Jones, Faculty of Classics

Sorry, there are currently no talks scheduled in this series.