Living, Dying, Death, and Bereavement (Volume One): Conversations with Thanatologists
This two-volume book offers extensive interviews with persons who have made significant contributions to thanatology, the study of dying, death, loss, and grief. The book’s in-depth conversations provide compelling life stories of interest to clinicians, researchers, and educated lay persons, and to specialists interested in oral history as a means of gaining rich understandings of persons’ lives. Several disciplines that contribute to thanatology are represented in this book, such as psychology, religious studies, art, literature, history, social work, nursing, theology, education, psychiatry, sociology, philosophy, and anthropology. The book is unique; no other text offers such a comprehensive, insightful, and personal review of work in the thanatology field.
The salience of thanatology is obvious when we consider several topics, including the aging demographics of most countries, the leading causes of death, the devastation of COVID-19, the realities of how most persons die, the growth both of hospice and of efforts within medicine to ensure that a good death becomes the norm of medical practice, and increases in the number of countries and states permitting physician-assisted suicide
Volume One includes conversations with 21 thanatologists and an introductory chapter in which the author provides an overview of the project and offers reflections on what these thanatologists have told him. The experts interviewed here include Robert Fulton, Sandra Bertman, Bill Worden, Charles Corr, Sister Frances Dominica, Myra Bluebond Langner, Nancy Hogan, Robert Neimeyer, Ken Doka, and Donna Schuurman.
David E. Balk, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College, directed Graduate Studies in Thanatology in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences. Prior to working at Brooklyn College, he served as a Professor at Kansas State University (KSU) and at Oklahoma State University (OSU). He is the author of Helping the Bereaved College Student and of Dealing with Dying, Death, and Grief during Adolescence. He has been the Book Review Editor of Death Studies since 1993. He was recognized at KSU in 1992 as an Outstanding Teacher in the College of Human Ecology and awarded the Faculty Research Excellence Award in the College of Human Ecology in 1995. Students at OSU chose him in 2004 as Outstanding Advisor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. He played an instrumental role in Brooklyn College’s adoption of bereavement leave policies for students. The Association for Death Education and Counseling recognized him in 2019 with its Academic Educator Award.
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