UMKC Anthropologist Studying Death in the Digital Age

Anthropology Associate Professor, Dr. Jenny Huberman, started off 2016 by traveling to England to present at paper at “The Futures of the End of Life Symposium” at Lancaster University. The symposium brought together a group of international and interdisciplinary scholars who are interested in studying death in the digital age. Dr. Huberman is currently developing a new research project that asks: how are experiences of loss, mourning, and memorialization changing in the digital age? How are digital technologies re-configuring the boundaries between life and death? And how might these changes be reflective and even generative of new understandings of what it means to be human?

At the symposium, Dr. Huberman presented a paper entitled, “Dearly Departed: Communicating with the Dead in the Digital Age”. The paper explores how people use online memorials to both communicate with the dead and create connections with living others. It will published in the journal Social Analysis. This semester Dr. Huberman is extending her research interests into the classroom by teaching a new special topics course entitled, “The Living Dead”. The course examines how people in different societies variously configure relations between the living and the dead.

In the Spring, Dr. Huberman plans to give a Roo Talk at UMKC entitled, “Virtually Human: Reflections on Mind Cloning and Digital Immortality”. The talk will explore the Transhumanist effort to achieve digital immortality through mind cloning and the transfer of consciousness. More details to come!

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