Soutwest Folklife Alliance Seminar: Brackette Williams, "When Good Death Is Bad Death"


Jan 27 2018 - 9:30am to 12:30pm


With Dr. Brackette F. Williams, Associate Professor, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona.

Medical decisions, funerary practices, and even the public memorialization of death have become increasingly entangled in webs of class, race, nationalism, and cultural differences. In these sociocultural webs, care of the dying has undergone significant technological and legal changes. These changes have increased the types of institutions available to the dying. At the same time, differences in national regulations of choice in the timing of death have turned these matters into transnational class-inflected decisions.

In this seminar, Professor Williams will apply an anthropological lens to help participants examine how these trends, ideologies, and policies impact our commonsense ideas of what counts as "the good death" and how can persons of different identities, dying at different ages, try to achieve it.
Brackette F. Williams (Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, 1984) is interested in the overlap of relationships among ethnicity, gender, age, and dark sector economic activities. Her earlier work centered on the Caribbean region, examining how racial and ethnic categories are reproduced in Guyana nationalism. Categories and classification systems - how they are developed, what basis they have in cultural contexts, and how they are put to use, by whom and for whom - have been a general theme in her work. Her ethnographic work on the categories informing capital punishment in the United States was recognized with a MacArthur "genius" award. She was also awarded a Soros Justice Senior Advocacy Fellowship by the Open Society Institute (2007-2009) to investigate the impact of solitary confinement in maximum-security facilities. She was editor of the journal Transforming Anthropology.

This is a free event but participants must register in advance.
Readings and seminar location will be provided upon registration.
Continuing education credit available.
 Click here to RSVP


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