Past Seminars


May 10, 2023, 7:15pm EST (at Faculty House)
(De)Gentrifying Death
Dr. Terri Laws, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn

April 12, 2023, 7:15pm EST (at Faculty House)
What's Culture Got to Do With It? An Anthropologist's Reflections on Brain Death
Betty Wolder Levin, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Community Health and Social Sciences, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health

March 8, 7:15pm EST (at Faculty House)
Death & the City - New York City & Khartoum
Mai Abusalih, Architect

February 8, 2023, 12:00pm EST (via Zoom)
Dignitas – To live with dignity – To die with dignity
Silvan Luley, Dignitas

December 14, 2022, 7:15pm EST (at Faculty House)
Collaborative Working Session: 2024 conference / event / project
(Open discussion with members, associates, and guests)

November 9, 2022, 7:15pm EST (at Faculty House)
The Path to Pathologizing Grief: “Dysfunctional Pandemic Grief” and “Prolonged Grief Disorder” as an Addiction
Donna L. Schuurman, EdD, FT
Sr. Director of Advocacy & Education
Executive Director Emeritus
Dougy Center - The National Grief Center for Children & Families

October 12, 2022, 7:15pm EST (at Faculty House)
One Last Shot: Hospice Care in Prison
Lisa R. Cohen, Director of Professional Prizes at Columbia Journalism School and filmmaker
Daina Stanley, Professor of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa and Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Social Work, McMaster University
with comment by Dr. Lesley A. Sharp, Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College

September 14, 2022, 6:00pm EST (at Faculty House)
50th Anniversary Dinner


May 11, 2022, 7:30pm EST (in person)
"Contemporary Burdens of Dying, Disposition, and Grief -- and their Potential Mitigations"
Open Discussion

April 13, 2022, 7:30pm EST (in person)
"'Those We've Lost': A Chronicle of the COVID dead"
Dan Wakin, former Obituaries Desk Editor, New York Times

March 9, 2022, 7:30pm EST (via Zoom)
"Rethinking the Ars Moriendi in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic"
Dr. Lydia Dugdale, Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Clinical Medical Ethics
Associate Director of Clinical Ethics, NYP
Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons

February 9, 2022, 7:30pm EST (via Zoom)
"Nursing Home COVID Ageism and Death: A Report From Front Line Staff"
Dr. Anthony J. Lechich, Medical Director, ArchCare Special Needs Programs
Niequan Sargeant, Certified Nursing Assistant, Mary Manning Walsh Home

December 8, 2021, 7:30pm EST
Postponed due to graduate worker strike

November 10, 2021, 7:30pm EST
Postponed due to graduate worker strike

October 13, 2021, 1:00pm EST (via Zoom)
"Remembering COVID Victims: A Global Overview of Traditional and Innovative Memorials"
Brigitte Sion, PhD, International Memorial and Museum Consultant (Geneva/Berlin)


May 12, 2021
Programming the Future
Professor Mark C. Taylor

April 14, 2021

Cremation in Jewish Tradition: Law, Philosophy and Communal Boundaries
Rabbi Ezra Schwartz, Yeshiva University 

March 10, 2021
What Does it Mean to Give Hospice Care to Unrepresented Patients?
Timothy W. Kirk, PhD, HEC-C, Associate Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York, York College, ethics consultant with MJHS Hospice

February 10, 2021
Inside the Green Burial Movement: Examining the Environmental and Social Motivations and Goals of Cemetery Reform
Lee Webster, Executive Director, NH Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy; Former President and Education Coordinator, Green Burial Council

December 9, 2020
The Dance of Death and Deliverance
Stephen Phelps, MDiv, former Senior Minister at Riverside Church

November 11, 2020
Responding to A Pandemic: A Look Inside Calvary Hospital
Sherry Schachter, Executive Director Emerita of Bereavement for Calvary Hospital

October 14, 2020
Death Will Not Be Denied: Memories and Projections
Gary Laderman, Goodrich C. White Professor of American Religious History and Cultures, Emory University, author of Don't Think About Death: A Memoir on Mortality (2020)


May 13, 2020
“Contemporary Funerals and Mourning Practices - An Investigation of Five Secular Countries" (dated 2011)
Paper by Sally Rauden distributed

[March 11 and April 8, 2020: cancelled due to COVID-19]

February 12, 2020
End of Life Doulas: Changing the Way People Die
Henry Fersko-Weiss, LCSW, Executive Director, The International End of Life Doula Association

December 11, 2019
Death and Digital Media
Candi Cann, Assistant Professor, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core & Religion, Baylor University 

November 13, 2019
For the One Life We Have: An Anthropological Study of Secular Humanist Funerals in London
Matthew Engelke, Director, Institute For Religion, Culture, & Public Life, Columbia University   

October 16, 2019
Physician Assisted Dying and the Story of Brittany Maynard
Cherie Henderson, Independent Scholar, PhD Candidate Communications, Columbia University


May 8, 2019
The Afterlife of Gender: Sovereignty, Intimacy and Transgender Funerals in Turkey
Asli Zengin, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Pembroke Center at Brown University.

[April 10, 2019: canceled due to conflict with annual dinner]

March 13, 2019
Corpse Life: the Post-Mortem Existence of the Forensic Dead
Zoe Crossland, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director Center for Archaeology, Columbia University

February 13, 2019
The Birth of Death: Reflections on the Origins of Death and its Role/Purpose in Human Experience
Adina Lewittes, scholar in residence at Bnei Jeshurun (NYC), founding rabbi of Sha’ar Communities (NJ), and faculty member of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.
with Robert Pollack, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences (Columbia), Director of Research Cluster on Science and Society (Columbia), and Director of University Seminars (Columbia).

December 12, 2018
Understanding Homegoing: African American Funeral Experiences
Dr. William G. Hoy, FT, Clinical Professor of Medical Humanities, Baylor University

November 14, 2018
Government Internment in the Capital District: A Comparison of Congressional Cemetery and Arlington National Cemetery
Kevin Keith, Independent Scholar 

October 10, 2018         
Death on Deadline: Designing a Course for Young Journalists on Death and Dying
Ari L. Goldman, Columbia University


June 7, 2018: Special Session with Faculty and Students from University of Southern California
“From Death into Light: The Living, the Dead, and the Modern Metropolis"
Caitlin Campbell, MFA, Research Associate, DeathLab, Columbia University

May 9, 2018
“To Treat or Not to Treat? That’s Not the Question: End-of-Life Treatment Choices for Clinicians"
Betty Holder Levin, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Community Health and Social Services, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

April 18, 2018
“Advance Care Planning and End-of-life Decision Making Among Adults with Cystic Fibrosis: Preliminary Results from a Qualitative Research Study"
Melissa Basile, PhD, Instructor at the Center for Health Innovations and Outcomes Research, Department of Medicine of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Northwell Health   

[March 21, 2018: Canceled due to inclement weather]

February 14, 2018
“New Directions in End-of-Life Legislation"
Carl Coleman, JD, Professor of Law and Academic Director, Division of Online Learning, Seton Hall University

December 13, 2017
“Regulated to Death: Re-Imagining the Death Service Market"
Tanya Marsh, JD, Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law

November 8, 2017
“Lamentations for the Dead: The Case of Bhopal, India"
Atiba Rougier, Department of Anthropology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

October 11, 2017
“The Hart Island Project”
Melinda Hunt, Artist

2016 – 2017

May 10, 2017
“Advanced End of Life Care: Cautionary Suggestions”
Frances Kamm, Ph.D, Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University

April 12, 2017
"Death and the Poetry of Poete Maudit Tristan Corbiere (1845-1875) in the Films of Jean Rollin (1938-2010)"
Marceline Block, Doctoral Candidate, Princeton University

March 8, 2017
“Death and Humor”
Marsha Hurst, Ph.D., Lecturer in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University

February 8, 2017
“From Death to Burial: How Judaism Dignifies the Passage”
Rochel Berman, Author of Dignity Beyond Death

December 14, 2016
“America's Experiment with Execution Methods”
Sheldon Solomon, Ph.D., Ross Professor for Interdisciplinary Studies, Skidmore College

November 9, 2016
“Courageous Funerals for the Risk Averse: Adventures of a Progressive NYC Funeral Director”
Amy Cunningham, Licensed Funeral Director, New York, NY

October 12, 2016
“Bronx Requiem: A Biography of Woodlawn Cemetery, and those Living and Dead Who Helped Make it the World's Most Remarkable Necropolis”
Joseph Dauben, Ph.D., Department of History, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

2015 – 2016

May 11, 2016
“Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics and the Struggle for Consciousness”
Joseph J. Fins, M.D. M.A.C.P.; Professor of Medical Ethics in Neurology and Medicine in Psychiatry; Weill Cornell Medical College; Director of Medical Ethics, New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center; Co-Director, Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury, Weill Cornell and Rockefeller University; Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar in Medicine, Bioethics and the Law, Yale Law School

April 13, 2016
"The History of Woodlawn Cemetery
Dr. Joseph Dauben
CUNY Graduate Center

March 9, 2016
“The Contemporary Obituary”
Tim Bullamore, Independent Scholar
Obituary Writer, The London Daily Telegraph

February 10, 2016
“Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life--for the Better”
Jeanne Safer, Ph.D, Psychotherapist in private practice

December 9, 2015
“America's Experiment with Execution Methods”
Deborah W. Denno, Ph.D., J.D.
Arthur A. McGivney Professor of Law
Founding Director, Neuroscience and Law Center
Fordham University School of Law

November 11, 2015
“Reframing the Phenomenon of Lynching into Our Consciousness”
Rasul A. Mowatt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Recreation, School of Public Health
Bloomington Indiana University

October 14, 2015
“On Musical Afterlife: The Posthumous Celebrity of Dead Musicians”
Lisa McCormick, Ph.D.
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh

2014 – 2015

May 13, 2015
"On the Impossibility of Obituaries (Case Study: Artist Agnes Martin)
Karen Schiff, MFA/PhD; Artist, Adjunct Senior Thesis Director in Design Studies, Boston Architectural College

April 8, 2015
"Everything Dead is New Again: Rethinking the 'Tech' in Postmortem Technologies
John Troyer, PhD, Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
[Cancelled due to flooding of Faculty House]

March 11 2015
“Thinking Outside the Box: New Technologies for the Wholesome Dead”
Philip R. Olson, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Science & Technology in Society, Virginia Tech

February 11, 2015
“Senior (80+) Cultural Anthropologists Confront Their Own Aging and Mortality”
Philip Singer, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Health Behavioral Sciences and Anthropology, School of Health Sciences, Oakland University
and Sidney M. Greenfield, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

December 10, 2014
“Dead Bodies and the Body-Politic: The Destruction of Cemeteries in Singapore”
Ruth E. Toulson, PhDm \Andrew Mellon Fellow, University of Pennsylvania

November 12, 2014
“Palliative Care in the 21st Century”
Craig D. Blinderman, MD
Director, Adult Palliative Care Services
Department of Medicine, Columbia University

October 8, 2014
“The Morbid Anatomy Museum: Art, Anatomy, and that Which Falls Between the Cracks”
Joanna Ebenstein
Creative Director
Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, NY

2013 – 2014

May 14, 2014
“Where in This World is the Human Soul?”
Robert Pollack, PhD
Director, Columbia University Seminars

April 9, 2014
[Working Meeting: Seminar Planning]

March 12, 2014
“Death Avoidance: A Social Context”
Margaret Souza
Associate Professor, SUNY/Empire State College

February 12, 2014
“‘A Small but Significant Minority’: The Rise of the Anti-Right-to-Die Movement”
Ann Neumann
Visiting Scholar, Center for Religion and Media at New York University
Contributing Editor, The Revealer and Guernica

December 11, 2013
“Deprogramming Death”
Mark C. Taylor

November 13, 2013
“What if You Only Had a Year to Live?”
Rhonda Sternberg, PhD
Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice
Adjunct Assistant Professor, graduate programs of Mental Health Counseling and Forensic Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

October 9, 2013
“The Psychological Integration of Death Into Life”
Tom Caffrey, PhD
Clinical Psychiatrist

2012 – 2013

May 8, 2013
“The Holistic Integration of End-of-Life Experiences”
Kei Okada, MDiv, BCC
Spiritual Care Counselor (Chaplain)
Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice and Palliative Care

April 10, 2013
[Working Meeting: Seminar Planning]

March 13, 2013
“Culturally Competent Care in an Increasingly Diverse Society”
Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW
Associate Professor and Associate Head, Dept. of Social Work
North Carolina State University

February 13, 2013
“Assisted Dying in Legal and Illegal Environments: Experiences of Patients, Families and Clinicians”
Judith K Schwarz, RN, PhD
Clinical Coordinator, Compassion & Choices of New York

December 12, 2012
“Thinking About Our Changing Journey to the End in 21st Century America”
Christina Staudt, PhD
Chair, Columbia University Seminar on Death

November 14, 2011
“Attachment, Loss and Grief (Cont'd.)”
M. Katherine Shear, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia School of Social Work
Director, Center for Complicated Grief

October 10, 2012
“Attachment, Loss and Grief”
M. Katherine Shear, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia School of Social Work
Director, Center for Complicated Grief

2011 – 2012

May 9, 2012
“Psychodynamics of Physician-Assisted Suicide”
Suzanne Garfinkle, M.D., MSc
Director, Mount Sinai Academy for Medicine and the Humanities
Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

April 11, 2012
“The Death Drive as Conservative Principle, With an Ear Toward Jazz”
Daniel Sapen, Ph.D.
Musician and Psychologist in Private Practice

March 24, 2012
Third Austin H. Kutcher Memorial Conference: “Reshaping Our Journey to the End: Death, Dying, and Bereavement in the 21st Century”
(Program, Flyer)

March 7, 2012
“Suite française: Sophie Calle’s Room (The Lowell, New York City, October 13-16, 2011)”
Marcelline Block
Princeton University

February 8, 2012
“Mortal Dilemmas: An Experiment in Public Discourse about Death”
Donald Joralemon, PhD
Professor of Anthropology, Smith College

December 14, 2011
“Developments in Palliative Care”
Diane Meier, MD, FACP
Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), New York
Director of the Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute
Professor of Geriatrics and Internal Medicine and Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City

November 9, 2011
“Spiritual Care at the End of Life”
Rev. Dr. Martha R. Jacobs, BCC
Author of A Clergy Guide to End of Life Issues, (2010)
Adjunct Professor at New York Theological Seminary
Coordinator of the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care for Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors and Directors of Pastoral Care

October 12, 2011
“Personal Memorial Objects in the 21st Century”
Angela Riechers, MFA
Art Director and Lecturer, CCNY

2010 – 2011

May 11, 2011
“The Nexus of Death Rituals: External Exits, Internal Objects, Reparation, and Enduring Bond”
Mary D. Laney, PhD

April 13, 2011
“Use of Expressive Art Therapy for Bereaved Children, Teens and Adults”
Dr. Sherry Schachter
Director of Bereavement Services, Calvary Hospital

March 9, 2011
“Nurshing Home Care Paradox: Ensuring Quality of Life - Fostering Dignity in Death”
Anthonry J. Lechich, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, New York Medical College

February 9, 2011
“Re-conceiving Rituals of Remembrance: Urban Spaces of Death, Sanctuary, and Memory”
Karla Rothstein
Design Director, Latent Productions
Partner, SR+T Architects
Adj. Associate Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture

December 8, 2010
“The Lack of Grief - A Case Study”
Thomas Caffrey, PhD

November 10, 2010
“Wishful Thinking: On the Grammar of 'Hope' in the Language of Serious Illness”
Nancy Berlinger, PhD, MDiv
Research Scholar, The Hastings Center
Project Director, Hastings Center Guidelines on End-of-Life Care

October 13, 2010
“Masculine Experiences of Grief”
Dr. James P. Maurino
Faculty Mentor, Community and Human Services and Human Development (Psychology)
SUNY - Empire State College

2009 – 2010

May 12, 2010
“Failed Organs, New Relationships: Whose Kidney is it, Anyway?”
Maureen O’Reilly-Landry, Ph.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons

April 14, 2010
“'Dying at Home' - An Open Discussion”
Eugenia L. Siegler, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Weill Cornell Medical College

March 20, 2010
Second Austin H. Kutscher Memorial Conference: Unequal Before Death

March 10, 2010
“Mausolea — The Desire for Entombment Featuring the Extraordinary Private Mausolea of the Woodlawn Cemetery”
Susan Olsen, Ph.D.
Director of Historical Services, The Woodlawn Cemetery
Respondent: Dennis Woolard, Directory of Family Services, The Woodlawn Cemetery

February 10, 2010
[SEMINAR CANCELED due to weather]

December 9, 2010
“Death, Liminality, and Becoming”
John Baugher, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Southern Maine

November 11, 2009
Open Discussion (Conference Planning)

October 14, 2009
Open Discussion (Conference Planning)

2008 – 2009

May 13, 2009
“Living and Dying: The Human Perspective”
Michael K. Bartalos
Co-Chair, Columbia University Seminar on Death

April 8, 2009
“Posthumous Reputation”
Dr. Jack Kamerman
Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Kean University

March 11, 2009
“I Want to Live Until I Don’t Want to Live Anymore: Involving Children with Life-threatening Illnesses in Medical Decision Making”
Myra Bluebond
Professor of Anthropology and Founder of the Center for Children and Childhood Studies at Rutgers University

February 11, 2009
“Can a Good Death be Achieved in the Modern Medical Technological Era?”
Nathan Ionascu, MD
Bioethics Consultant, Institute for Ethics, NY Medical College; Westchester End of Life Coalition

December 10, 2008
“De-Civilization as Response to the Cultures of Death and Societal Trauma in the Second Millennium”
Margaret A. Yard, PhD, APRN, BC
Professor and Clinical Specialist
Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Psychiatry
Clinical Nurse Specialist: Psychiatry and Mental Health, Geriatrics, Psychoanalysis Supervision and Treatment, Psychotherapy - Analytic and Experential, Group Therapy, Community Health and International Trauma

November 12, 2008
“'The Culture of Death': Perspective and Politics in Medical Ethics”
Kevin T. Keith, MA
Independent Scholar

October 15, 2008
Open Discussion (Conference Planning)

2007 – 2008

THEME: The Pulse of Death Now

May 14, 2008
“The Turn Toward the East: Shifting Metaphors in Hospice Care”
John Baugher
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Southern Maine

April 11, 2008
“The Joy of Funerals”
Alix Strauss
Author: The Joy of Funerals

March 29, 2008
Austin H. Kutscher Memorial Conference: The Pulse of Death Now

March 12, 2008
Open Discussion

February 13, 2008
“Futility, Knowledge, and the Social Orchestration of Death in Botswana's Oncology Ward”
Julie Livingston, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History, Rutgers University

December 13, 2007
“Dying for One's Country: The Soldier and Sacrificial Death”
Richard A. Koenigsberg, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for the Study of War, Genocide and Terrorism

November 14, 2007
Open Discussion

October 10, 2007
Open Discussion

2006 – 2007

THEME: Death and Politics

May 9, 2007
“Death in the 21st Century”
Open Discussion, Planning for March 29, 2008 conference

April 11, 2007
“Death in Childbirth-Invisible and Avoidable: Can a Rights-Based Public Health Approach End the Scourge of Maternal Mortality in Africa, Asia, and Latin America?”
Lynn P. Freedman, JD, MPH
Director, Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD), Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

March 14, 2007
“‘Open Access’ in Hospice, and Its Politics”
Carolyn Cassin
President and CEO, Continuum Hospice Care

February 14, 2007
“Probing Palliative Care: An Anthropological Perspective”
Margaret Souza, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor, SUNY/Empire State College

December 13, 2006
“Brain Injury & the Unintended Consequences of the Right-to-Die Movement”
Joseph J. Fins, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Chief, Division of Medical Ethics, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Public Health, Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

November 8, 2006
“Roadblocks to Autonomy in End of Life Decision”
David C. Leven
Executive Director Compassion & Choices of New York

October 12, 2006
“Hypnosis with Dying Cancer Patients”
Sidney Rosen, M.D.
Formerly: Chief Psychiatrist, Rusk Institute, Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center

2005 – 2006

THEME: Death and Politics

May 10, 2006
“Immortality 2.0”
Stephen S. Hall
Author, Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension

April 12, 2006
“Dying in the Age of the Cyborg”
Dr. Michael K. Bartalos
Author, and Co-Chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Death

March 8, 2006
“Honoring the Dead in the Realm of Organ Transplantation in America: Some Thoughts on the Overlapping of Medical and Military Memorials”
Lesley A. Sharp
Associate Professor and Chair, Anthropology, Barnard College, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

February 8, 2006
“The Politics of Death in a Human Rights Context”
Dinah PoKempner
General Counsel for Human Rights Watch

December 14, 2005
“The Media’s Central Role in Terrorism and Counterterrorism”
Dr. Brigitte L. Nacos
Department of Political Science, Columbia University

November 9, 2005
Politics and Palliative Care”
Dr. Joseph Sacco
Director of the Palliative Medicine Consultation Service, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center
Assistant Professor, Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

October 5, 2005
“Terri Schiavo; introduction of the salient issues surrounding the case; discussion on the politics surrounding the case”
Rochelle Balter, Ph.D., J.D.

2004 – 2005

THEME: Death in War and Conflict

May 11, 2005
“Abu Ghraib and the Psychology of Torture: A Debate with Arendt, Milgram, Zimbardo, and the U.S Government”
Jerry S. Piven, Ph.D.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, New School University

April 13, 2005
Open Discussion (Planning Meeting)

March 9, 2005
“Pictures and Power—The Meaning of Images of the Dead and Dying in War and Conflict—An Exploratory Discussion”
Christina Staudt, Independent Art Historian

February 9, 2005
“The Struggle for Coherence in Stories of Catastrophe”
Jessica Wiederhorn
Associate Director, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University

December 8, 2004
“The Concept of Genocide After Sixty Years”
Jim Fussell
University of Cincinnati
Executive Director, Prevent Genocide International

November 10, 2004
“Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror”
Professor Mia Bloom
Department of Political Science, University of Cincinnati

October 13, 2004
“The In Extremis Leader”
Colonel Tom Kolditz, US Army
Professor and Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, United States Military Academy, West Point

2003 – 2004

May 12, 2004
“Dying and Death in Himalayan Cultures”
Robert Desjarlais, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
Sarah Lawrence College

April 14, 2004
“The Denial of Death in the Age of Globalization”
A Roundtable Discussion

March 10, 2004
“Mourning and Immortality: Ritual and Psychoanalysis Compared”
Harriet Lutzky
Universite Paris X, Nanterre

February 11, 2004
“Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Culture and Identity Continuity”
George A. Bonnano, Ph.D.
Teachers College, Columbia University

December 10, 2003
“Spiritual Pain at the End of Life”
Caterina Mako
Chaplain, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City

November 12, 2003
“The Afterlife As Mirror of the Self”
Alan Segal
Professor of Religion
Barnard College

October 15, 2003
“Perspectives on the Afterlife”
A Roundtable Discussion

2002 – 2003

May 14, 2003
“What Fools These Mortals Be: Post-Modern Technology and Pre-Modern Dreams of Eternity”
Kevin T. Keith, M.A., Independent Scholar

April 9, 2003
“Covering (Up) Death: Time Magazine's September 11, 2001 Special Issue”
Christina Staudt, Ph.D., Independent Art Historian

March 12, 2003
“The Denial of Death in a System-Wide Perspective — A Conversation Between and Ethicist and a Patient Advocate”
Marsha Hurst, Ph.D.
Director, Health Advocacy Graduate Program, Sarah Lawrence College
Alice Herb, J.D., LL.M.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Practice and Humanities in Medicine
Health Science Center at Brooklyn, State University of New York

February 12, 2003
“Choosing Affirmation: Antiphony to Becker's Denial of Death”
Michael K. Bartalos, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus
College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

December 13, 2002
“Mortality, Salience, Fantasy, and History; with an Addendum on Experimental Studies in Terror Management”
Jerry Piven, Ph.D.
New School University

November 13, 2002
“Dying with a Small 'd'”
Thomas Caffrey, Ph.D., Psychologist

October 9, 2002
“When Denial of Death Undermines Advanced Care Planning”
Joseph J. Fins, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Associate Professor, Departments of Public Health and Medicine, Weill Medical College, Cornell University
Director of Medical Ethics, New York Presbyterian Hospital

2001 – 2002

May 1, 2002
Working Session VII – Death Seminar Publication Project

April 3, 2002
Working Session VI – Death Seminar Publication Project

March 6, 2002
Working Session V – Death Seminar Publication Project

February 6, 2002
Working Session IV – Death Seminar Publication Project

December 5, 2001
Working Session III – Death Seminar Publication Project

November 7, 2001
Working Session II – Death Seminar Publication Project

October 3, 2001
Working Session I – Death Seminar Publication Project

2000 – 2001

May 9, 2001
“The Image of Death in Contemporary News Media: Time Magazine in the Year 2000”
Christina Staudt, Ph.D.
Independent Art Historian

April 11, 2001
“Humor and Death: The Reality, the Death Anxiety, and the Death Wish”
Joseph Richman, Ph.D.
Psychologist in Private Practice, and
Professor Emeritus
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

March 14, 2001
“A Guided Tour to End of Life Care”
Robert C. Cassidy, Ph.D.
Director of Bioethics and Social Policy
Schneider Children's Hospital / LIJMC
New Hyde Park, New York

February 14, 2001
“Controversies and Trends in End of Life Medical Ethics”
Kenneth M. Prager, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Medicine
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Chairman, Medical Ethics Committee and
Director of Clinical Ethics
Columbia Division of New York - Presbyterian Medical Center

December 13, 2000
“Death in the Christian Theology of Hope”
Daniel Sulmasy, M.D., PH.D.
Sisters of Charity Chair in Ethics
St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center
Professor of Medicine and
Director of the Bioethics Institute
New York Medical College

November 8, 2000
“Incentives for Permitting Death: Protecting Vulnerable Patients”
Nancy Neveloff Dubler, L.L.B.
Director, Division of Bioethics
Montefiore Medical Center, and
Professor of Bioethics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

October 11, 2000
“Conflicts in Caring at the End of Life: Nurses Perspectives”
Judith Kennedy Schwarz, R.N., M.S.
Ph.D. candidate, New York University

1999 – 2000

May 10, 2000
“Healing Children's Grief”
Grace Hyslop Christ, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Columbia University School of Social Work

April 5, 2000
“Hyperspace and the Quest for Transcendence”
Clifford A. Pickover, Ph.D.
Research Staff Member, IBM
Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Yorktown Heights, New York

March 8, 2000
“Death and Life after Plane Crashes”
Paul Ofman, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
New York University School of Medicine
Management Consultant, RHR International
Chair of Disaster Mental Health for The American Red Cross in Greater New York City

February 9, 2000
“Differentiating Grief and Depression: A Clinical Distinction”
Kenneth R. Cohen, M.D.
Psychiatrist in Private Practice
New York City

December 8, 1999
“Health Care Decision Making for Gravely Ill Children”
Alan R. Fleischman, M.D.
Senior Vice President
The New York Academy of Medicine
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Clinical Professor of Epidemiology and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

November 10, 1999
“Ancient Egyptian Mummification: A Physical and Ritualistic Approach to Life after Death”
Bob Brier, Ph.D.
Chairman and Professor of Philosophy
C. W. Post Campus
Long Island University

October 13, 1999
“Zetetics: A Personal Spin on Life and Death”
Michael K. Bartalos, M.D.
Chair, University Seminar on Death
Columbia University

1998 – 1999

May 12, 1999
“'The Mechanical Graveyard': Death in the ICU”
Martin Doerfler, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and
Director of Critical Care Medicine
Department of Medicine
New York University School of Medicine and
Chairperson of the Biomedical Ethics Committee
Bellevue Hospital Center

April 14, 1999
“The Joy of Funerals”
Ms. Alix Strauss
Journalist, Producer, Writer, Educator
New York City

March 10, 1999
“The Spectacle of Death: Sati in Early Colonial India, 1818-1827”
Anne B. Waters, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures
Barnard College

February 10, 1999
“Suicide Prevention on the Front Lines: A Practitioner's Perspective”
Thomas A. Caffrey, Ph.D., Psychologist
Director of "Suicide Consultation"
New York City

December 9, 1998
“Aspects of the Rebirth Theory in Indian Tradition”
Dr. Alex Wayman
Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit
Columbia University

November 11, 1998
“The Definition of Death”
Kevin T. Keith, M.A.
Bioethicist, Independent Scholar
New York City

October 14, 1998
“The Beth Israel Bereavement Program: Helping Families To Cope With Perinatal Loss”
Karen Goodman, R.N.C., M.A.
Certified Bereavement Counselor
Coordinator of Perinatal Bereavement Program
Beth Israel Medical Center
New York City

1997 – 1998

May 13, 1998
“New Advances in the Treatment of HIV Infection - 1998”
R. Gabriel Torres, M.D.
Director, AIDS Center
St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center, and
Bentley-Salick Medical Practice, P.C.
New York City

April 8, 1998
“Beyond the Grave: Cultures of Queens Cemeteries”
Ilana Harlow, Ph.D.
Folk Arts Program Director
Queens Council on the Arts

March 11, 1998
“Perils to Existence - Impressions from a Visit to Asia: Environmental Destruction and AIDS”
Jerry Thomas Nessel, M.D.,
HIV Health Coordinator
Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation
New York City

February 11, 1998
“Physician Assisted Suicide in the United States - A National Prevalence Study”
Diane E. Meier, M.D.
Associate Professor
Departments of Geriatrics and Medicine
Mount Sinai School Medicine and
Director, Mount Sinai Palliative Care Initiative

December 10, 1997
“Pragmatic Reflections on Death and Dying in the Hospital”
Joseph Fins, M.D.
Director of Medical Ethics
New York Hospital / Cornell Medical Center

November 12, 1997
“The Terminally Ill: Personal Experiences in Counseling Patients and Their Families”
Marcia Fishman, M.A., R.N.C.
Grief Counselor in Private Practice
New York City

October 8, 1997
“Death in America. An Archival Documentary and Chronological History of Illness and Death” (A Video Production)
Viewing and discussion led by its writer and producer
Stanley B. Burns, M.D.
Director, The Burns Archive
New York City

1996 – 1997

May 14, 1997
“Navajo Bereavement and Healing”
Thomas J. Csordas, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar
Russel Sage Foundation, New York City and
Professor of Anthropology
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

April 9, 1997
“The Concept of Death Among the Indians of the Northwest Coast”
Allen Wardwell
Independent Curator
New York City

March 12, 1997
“Picturing Death: Images and Issues from the French 19th Century Illustrated Press”
Christina Staudt
Independent Art Historian
Bronxville, New York

Feb. 12, 1997
“Infanticide in America: Witch Hunt or Scientific Inquiry?”
Margaret G. Spinelli, M.D.,
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and
Director, Maternal Mental Health Program
New York State Psychiatric Institute

December 11, 1996
“Flesh, Nails, and Bone: Death and Ancestral Memory in a Madagascar Kingdom”
Professor Lesley A. Sharp
Department of Anthropology
Barnard College, Columbia University

November 13, 1996
“The Transsexual Experience - Metaphor for Death and Rebirth”
Lieut. Janet Aiello
Police Department
Hoboken, New Jersey

with discussants:
Ms. Lisa Cross
Jiovanna Towers

October 9, 1996
“Assisted Suicide at the Crossroads: The Constitutional and Social Debate”
Tracy E. Miller, J.D.
Visiting Scholar, Department of Health Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Executive Director of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law

1995 – 1996

May 8, 1996
“Autonomous Dying: Critical Reflections on the Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide”
Mr. Bruce Jennings
Executive Director
The Hastings Center
Briarcliff Manor, New York

April 24, 1996
“The War on AIDS and the Betrayal of Public Health”
Ms. Helen Mathews Smith
Science Writer, former editor of MD Magazine
New York City

March 13, 1996
“Dying at Home: Implications for Parents, Family and Significant Others”
Sherry Schachter, R.N., B.S.N., M.A.
Certified Grief Counselor
Coordinator, Psychiatric Home Care Program
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

February 14, 1996
“Religious Cults: Salvation, Suicide and Apocalyptic Endings”
Gillian Lindt
Professor of Religion
Dean, School of General Studies
Columbia University

December 13, 1995
“The Doctor as Writer”
Richard Selzer, M.D.
Surgeon and Writer
Professor Emeritus of Surgery
Yale University School of Medicine

November 8, 1995
“Receiving an Organ: Gift or Purchase?”
Mr. Leo Trevino
Assistant Director of Family Counseling and Consent Services


Mr. Laurence Swasey
Educator and heart transplant recipient
New York Regional Transplant Program, Inc.
New York City

October 11, 1995
“The Cemetery as Cultural Resource - Virtual Walk Through Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery”
Mr. John Cashman, Guide and Historian
Green-Wood Cemetery, Sunset Park
Brooklyn, New York

1994 – 1995

May 10, 1995
“Prevention of Patient Suicide - Medical/Legal Considerations”
Robert Walzer, M.D., J.D.
Reiss, Walzer, Vasta & Starks, P.C.
New Canaan, CT

April 12, 1995
“Preventing Death in the Workplace: Law and Compliance”
Ilise L. Feitshans, Esq.
Acting Director
Legislative Drafting Research Fund
Columbia University
School of Law

March 8, 1995
“Comparative Approaches to Rationing Health Care Resources: The U.S., Britain and Canada”
Mary Ruggie, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology
Columbia University

February 8, 1995
“'Off the Count': Death Behind Bars”
Mr. Stephen Donaldson
Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc.
New York City

December 14, 1994
“Macro- and Micro-Suicidal Events in the Lives of Adolescents in Detention”
Mr. David Snyder
Associate Psychologist
Spofford Juvenile Detention Center
New York City Department of Juvenile Justice

November 09, 1994
“'To Be Or Not To Be' - When Society Has the Answer”
Michael K. Bartalos, M.D.
Division of Medical Genetics
Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

October 12, 1994
“Living and Dying with AIDS - A Psychological Perspective”
Judith Rabkin, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
New York State Psychiatric Institute

1993 – 1994

May 11, 1994
“The Victim as Perpetrator: Dissociation and Violent Behavior”
Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D.
Medical Director of the Criminal Victims Center
Attending Psychiatrist of the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic of the
Manhattan Criminal and Supreme Courts
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

April 13, 1994
“Adolescents and HIV Infection: The Second Decade”
Donna Futterman, M.D.
Acting Director
Adolescent AIDS Program
Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, New York

March 9, 1994
“Charting Death: Progress Toward the End”
Rita Charon, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
Department of Medicine
Columbia University
College of Physicians & Surgeons

February 9, 1994

December 8, 1993
“Genetic Approaches to Developmental and Abnormal Cell Death”
Martin Chalfie, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Sherman Fairchild Center for the Life Sciences
Columbia University

November 10, 1993
“Cognitive - Behavioral Perspective on Bereavement and Bereavement Counseling”
Rochelle Balter, Ph.D.
Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy
New York City

October 13, 1993
“Aspects of a 'Good Death'”
Mr. T. Patrick Hill
Director of Education
Choice in Dying
New York City

1992 – 1993

May 12, 1993
“Separation and Loss: The Preparatory and Recovery Processes in Working with the Developmentally Disabled Population”
Vera Halpenny, C.S.W.
Director, Residential Services,
Young Adult Institute, and
Adjunct Professor
Iona College
New Rochelle, New York

April 14, 1993
“Death in the Works of Michel Foucault”
James Miller, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
The New School for Social Research
New York City

March 10, 1993
“From the Nazi Death Camps in Poland (1992) to Guatemala (1993): Being a Witness”
Jerry T. Nessel, M.D.
Health / HIV Coordinator
Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation, and
Adjunct Professor in Health Care Management
Mercy College

February 10, 1993
“Death in Different Cultures: Past and Present”
Michael Bartalos, M.D.
Department of Pediatrics
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University

December 9, 1992
“Song for the Duke: Memory as a Healing Tool and as a Celebration of Life”
Barbara Meyers, R.N.
A.D.E.C. Certified Grief Therapist in Private Practice
Staten Island, New York

November 11, 1992
“Anthropological Findings in Relation to the Youth Suicide Epidemic”
Ernest Shulman, Ph.D.
City University of New York

October 14, 1992
“Life, Death, and Contextual Individualism”
Michael Bartalos, M.D.
Department of Pediatrics
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University

1991 – 1992

May 13, 1992
“Mourning and After-Care”
Rabbi Jacob Goldberg
Adjunct Assistant Professor for Bereavement Counseling
School of Social Work
Yeshiva University

April 8, 1992
“Death in America”
Stanley Burns, M.D.
Creator and Director of the Burns Archives
New York City

March 11, 1992
“Death in the Literature of Spain”
Hon. Jose M. Chaves
University Professor, Poet, Journalist
Ambassador to the United Nations
“Death of an Empire”
Hon. Djoumakadyr Atabekov
Ambassador to the United Nations
Democratic Republik of Kyrghyzstan

February 12, 1992
“Do Not Resuscitate - Issues and Resolution”
Karol Murov, B.S.N., M.A.
Director of Risk Management
St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center
New York City

December 11, 1991
“Timing of Death Around Religious Holidays”
Ellen L. Idler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Rutgers University

November 13, 1991
“Two Decades of Death Education/Suicide Prevention in Schools: What Has Been Accomplished? What Still Remains To Be Done?”
Robert G. Stevenson, Ed.D.
Educator, River Dell Regional Schools
Oradell, New Jersey

October 09, 1991
“Bereavement Damage Control: Now and Later”
Daniel Schaefer
Funeral Home Director, Author
Brooklyn, New York

1990 – 1991

May 8, 1991
“The Holocaust in Education”
Mr. Gerome Ranieri
Member, the Governor's Committee on the Holocaust (in New Jersey)
Chairman, Social Studies Department
River Dell Regional Schools
Oradell, New Jersey

April 10, 1991
“The View of Death and Life in the Art of Meso-America”
Esther Pasztory, Ph.D.
Professor of Art and Archeology
Columbia University

March 13, 1991
“The Patient Self-Determination Act”
Mr. Patrick Hill
Director of Education
Society for the Right to Die
New York City

February 13, 1991
“An Interdisciplinary Conceptual Framework and Taxonomy of Thanatological Perspectives”
O. Roger Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor of Natural Sciences
Columbia University

December 12, 1990
“Spirituality and Health”
Meeta Goswani, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, Narcolepsy Project
Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center

November 14, 1990
“The Issue of AIDS: The Infected and Affected”
Mr. Harold Klinsky
Educational Consultant
New Jersey Bodies
Mahwah, New Jersey

October 10, 1990
“Death Before Birth”
Dorothy Warburton, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in Human Genetics and Development
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons