The past three years have caused severe suffering around the world, from the Covid pandemic to the extension of wars and conflicts involving even countries that have been at peace for decades. Long removed in many affluent countries, death has suddenly reappeared in the scenarios of our daily lives as a looming threat that requires constant attention to avoid it. All this while communities sought to reacquaint themselves with the meaning of dying and how to accompany the dying while respecting the right not to suffer. This is a multi-disciplinary hybrid conference, and the theme Learning from Suffering, Fear of Death and Dying (LSFDD) invites responses not just concerned with reductionist perspectives, but also social change and the struggle for just cope with the consequences of a very long destabilizing period, to rebuild balance and overcome the crisis by learning from the pain suffered. Trauma, loss, and uncertainty are not always synonymous of destruction, but can also offer opportunities for change that will restart the course of history toward a future of peace and prosperity, such as that for which humanity is constantly striving. All this is possible when people become fully conscious of the contours of the past. The theme also invites researchers collaborating with, or operating on, the borders of academia and the conventional industry to share their experiences and visions and, in so doing, seeks to reframe challenge and disruption as potentially productive sites of future-making.
Located in Italy, where the challenges of the traumatic experience of pandemic and the fleeing of refugees from the territories of war run in parallel with the development of the humanization of the medical relationships with the sick and dying, offering new paradigms for thinking about the future also in the last phase of life, the conference invites participants to embrace our current moment of uncertainty, possibility, and challenge, considering the following questions:
- What do grief from loss and trauma teach about life and how to improve it on an individual and societal level?
- How can experiences of contact with death and dying be enhanced to set up more human and meaningful relationships?
- How are well-being and peace intertwined with experience of death, dying in the construction of community?
Death, Dying and Disposal (DDD16), in Padua, Italy, thus seeks to contribute to key contemporary issues in Death Studies. Firstly, this time of crisis may reduce the capability to think of future because of fear of death and anxiety. However, LSFDD could make it clear that the changes may open new perspectives and draws attention to emergent and transforming social, cultural, and relational practices in death care and commemoration. Secondly, the theme was chosen to promote the future of the Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS) to include scholars working across Europe and the Mediterranean area. Finally, the theme of suffering aims to engage more explicitly with academic fields beyond the humanities and social sciences, to include practitioners working in the area of loss for the promotion of resilience and hope.
Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS) official site: https://www.deathandsociety.org