Konferenssit ja seminaarit

Histories of Death Symposium

Histories of Death Symposium

February 19-21, 2020

Educarium 2, University of Turku, Finland

Dear JMC Friends, Students, and Colleagues,

The Histories of Death Symposium is only a few weeks away!

Our understandings of death come with long and complex histories, shaped by culture, place, time, power, and identities. This international Symposium delves into these many varied and interwoven Histories of Death. During the three-day event, researchers, artists, and activists will come together to engage in dialogue about the different ways people have approached death and mourning from everyday, cultural, and structural perspectives. The program is full of thought-provoking panels and Keynotes by Prof. Julie-Marie Strange (Durham University), Dr. Erin Millions (University of Winnipeg), and Dr. Ilona Pajari and Dr. Kaarina Koski (Finnish Death Studies Association). You can find the program and Symposium info here: https://sites.utu.fi/jmc/histories-of-death/symposium-program/.

Registration is still open until January 31, 2020: https://sites.utu.fi/jmc/histories-of-death/registration-information/. Please note that individual sessions and Keynotes are open to all. Program materials, coffees, lunches, symposium banquet, receptions, and cultural programming, however, are for registered participants only.

University of Turku students can earn lecture pass entries for attending. North American Studies students also have an opportunity to earn Independent Study credits (3ECTS). For more information on this symposium-related course offering, see Peppi.

The Symposium is funded by the Academy of Finland and hosted by the John Morton Center for North American Studies in partnership with the University of Turku’s Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History, and Political Science and the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies.

If you have any questions about the Symposium or registration, please contact:.


19:00–22:00     Pre-symposium Seminar & Pub Night at Bar Ö:

“Death and Apocalypse in Pop Culture”

In Partnership with International Institute for Popular Culture (IIPC)

Speakers: Kimi Kärki, Marika Ahonen, Kimmo Ahonen


EDUCARIUM 2, University of Turku

9:15–10:15     Symposium Registration / Coffee

10:15–10:45     Welcoming Remarks

10:45–12:00     PANEL 1: Collective Commemoration

Andrew G. Newby (Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research, Finland)

Mass Death & Commemorative Culture: The “Great Famines” of Ireland and Finland Compared

Anna Huhtala (University of Tampere, Finland)

An Entire Nation in Mourning: Public Perception of Violent and Accidental death in Finland in the 1920s and 1930s

Karen Remmler (Mount Holyoke College, USA)

Paper The Afterlives of Refugee Dead: What Remains?

12:00–13:30     Lunch 

13:30–14:45     KEYNOTE 1:

Histories of Death in Finland

Dr. Ilona Pajari & Dr. Kaarina Koski (Finnish Death Studies Association / Thanatos)

14:45–15:00     Refreshment Break

15:00–16:30     PANEL 2: The Teachings of Death

Chipamong Chowdhury (Theravada Buddhist monk/ Chautauqua Institution, USA)

The Account of the Buddha’s Death

Junfu Wong (University of Cambridge, UK)

Preparing the Spirituality for Death: Lay Reinterpretation of Daoist Cosmological Death in Premodern China

Agita Misane (Riga Stradiņš University, Latvia)

Perceptions of Death and Dying in Latvian Traditional Culture and Mythology

Karin Dirke, Annika Berg, Andreas Hellerstedt (Stockholm University, Sweden)

Teaching Death: Constructing a Research-based Course on the Intellectual History of Death

16:35–17:15     Dance Macabre: Magic Circus Performance by ArtTeatro

17:15–19:00     Reception

Welcoming Toast sponsored by City of Turku



EDUCARIUM 2, University of Turku

9:45–11:00     PANEL 3: Politics & Change

Anastasia Papushina (Central European University, Hungary)

A Failed Experiment: Reinventing Death and Mourning in the 1920’s Soviet Russia

Samira Saramo (John Morton Center for North American Studies, Finland)

Finnish Immigrants and the Politics of Death in Early Twentieth Century

Emily Collins (M.D., NHS Oxford Deanery, UK) & David Harrap (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

Modern Palliative Care & the Uses of History

11:00–11:15     Break

11:15–12:30     Keynote 2:

Pet Cemetery: Love, Memory and Grieving for the Animal Dead, 1880-1970

Prof. Julie-Marie Strange (Durham University, UK)

12:30–14:00     Lunch

13:00–13:45     Lunchtime Documentary Screening of The Price of Death by Dr. Rebekah Lee (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK) in PUB 209

14:00–15:30     PANEL 4: Families in Mourning

Mary McDonald-Rissanen (JMC Council, Finland)

Narratives on Women’s Death in 20th Century Women’s Diaries, Obituaries and Folk Songs

Ann-Marie Foster (Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland)

The Ephemera of the Dead: Family Commemoration Made Public

Katherine Parkin (Monmouth University, USA)

“Joy turned to sorrow”: Stillborns in Howard County, Indiana, 1890-1940

Maggie Mayhem (Independent Scholar, USA)

My First memento mori: Death Imagery on Baby and Infant Products


15:30–15:45     Refreshment Break

15:45–17:00     PANEL 5: “Good death” & The Making of the Self

Jacqueline Holler (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)

Sorrow, Rage, and Laughter: The Emotions of Death and Dying in Early Colonial New Spain

Vera Lind (Northern Illinois University, USA)

Beautiful Suicides: How Early Modern Suicides Attempted to Imitate a Good Death

Immanuel Mifsud (University of Malta, Malta)

‘A Modest Requiem for Leli’: Performing the Thoughts of a Dying Man

17:00–19:00     Optional Walking Tour of Turku’s Sacred Places

(will end at Symposium dinner venue)

19:00–21:00     Symposium Dinner



EDUCARIUM 2, University of Turku


10:15–11:30    KEYNOTE 3:

When Patients Go Missing: Indigenous Tuberculosis Patients and Death Colonialism in Manitoba, 1940s-1970s

Dr. Erin Millions (University of Winnipeg, Canada)


11:30–13:00     Lunch

13:00–14:15     PANEL 6: Spaces of Death

Povilas Dikavičius​  (Central European University, Hungary)

Somber Celebrations: Multifaith Funerary Rituals in the 17th c. Vilnius

Gian Luca Amadei (University of York, Royal College of Art in London, UK)

“And my mother became that beautiful fire”: Crematoriums in a Changing London

Arnar Arnason (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) & Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson (University of Iceland, Iceland)

Mourning for the More-than-Human

14:15–14:30     Refreshment Break

14:30­­–17:15     DOCUMENTARY SCREENING:

Into the Night: Portraits of Life & Death

with Director Helen Whitney (USA)

17:15–18:00     Closing Discussion & Snacks

18:15–21:00     Optional Sauna & Winter Swim Excursion to Ispoinen

(approximate cost  15€ / bring your own bathing suit and towel)