Death, Dying, and Bereavement

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

"...once you learn how to die, you learn how to live." - Morrie, from Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. This course reviews our understanding of and attitudes toward death across the lifespan. We answer questions, such as, "Do stages of grief exist?", "Should we have a right to die?", and "How do we define death?" Cultural influences on death and mourning are incorporated throughout. Students will create a Death and Dying portfolio to creatively tie the course material to their own personal understanding and experiences.

Topics covered in this one-week course will include: how, where, and when we die; attitudes and emotions toward death; controversies surrounding the right to die (e.g., passive euthanasia and assisted suicide); advance medical directives and creating a living will; and coping with death of a loved one. All topics will be contrasted across cultures. Varied modes of instruction are used in addition to lecture, including class discussions, debates, videos, discussing the book, "Tuesdays with Morrie," and small group and individual activities. Students' understanding of course concepts will be enhanced through creation of a peer-reviewed Death and Dying portolio. Portfolio entries will be creative illustrations that tie the course material directly to the students' personal experiences, including writing their own obituary. It is normal for thinking about our own death to cause anxiety. The goal of the portfolio project will be instead to focus on how we want to shape our life and celebrating the life we have lived.

Discuss controversies surrounding the medical, legal, financial, and ethical issues related to death and dying.

Accurately apply theories about, and research on, concepts related to death, dying, and grief.

Explain age-related changes in attitudes toward death and death anxiety.
Discuss controversies surrounding death and grief.

Understand individual and cross-cultural influences on understanding of death and death practices.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course. Due to potential overlap of some course content, it is not recommended for students to enroll in both "Becoming You: Human Development across the Lifespan" as well as "Death, Dying, and Bereavement."

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPY0968
  • Length: 1 week

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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