PHL304: “DEATH CAFÉ: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT MORTALITY”
Next Offered: 2022 Term 4.
Day and time: Wednesdays from 11:00am-12:30pm.
Dates: First class meets Wednesday 19 October 2022 and continues for 8 consecutive weekly sessions. The last session is on Wednesday 7 December 2022.
Location: EarthDiverse, 401 Grey Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton (see map below under Location tab), or on-line via-Zoom.
This course will cater for those who wish to explore the question of death with a range of prepared topics each week for open forum discussion. Come with your own questions and experiences and opinions on matters that touch at the heart of the human condition.
Week 1: In the age of secularisation, more and more people are organising their own funerals in halls and function rooms with a celebrant officiating. New rituals have been invented with new technologies involved. Cremation has become more common. Natural burials have also become an option. Yet in all of this, some say New Zealanders don’t do death or funerals well.
Week 2: Come November, euthanasia will be legal in New Zealand. How does this sit with the sanctity of life? Are the conditions surrounding the legality too strict? Should one need to be terminally ill before being allowed to die by one’s own hand or the hand of others? What of suicide? What of the death penalty for heinous crimes?
Week 3: Woody Allen once quipped that he wasn’t afraid to die, he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. How can one prepare for death? What is involved in a “good death”? Fear of death and coping mechanisms.
Week 4: Less and less people believe in an afterlife. Why? Is this a premature judgement? How does it affect one’s attitude to death? What about Near Death Experiences? Would you want to live forever?
Week 5: What about the ones left behind? How to handle grief and the loss of loved ones? Are there really stages when it comes to bereavement? How do you explain death to a child? Should one tell lies?
Week 6: The money. Wills. The cost of funerals and burials. Types of coffins: flat-packs, the New Zealand way. New Zealand cemeteries – their care, aesthetics, changes, rules and regulations.
Week 7: Palliative care. Hospice. Drugs. Trends regarding where one dies. In the past it was normal to die in one’s own home. Now more often it happens in hospitals surrounded with tubes and monitors. Some are pushing back against this practice of the medicalization of death.
Week 8: Death ain’t that bad. Name all the positive things about death. What do the philosophers have to say about the subject? Some claim death gives meaning to life. Others speak of the nothingness curled like a worm in the heart of being.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.
Distance Learning: This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:
- attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time,
- attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time,
- watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.
These options can be mixed and matched throughout the course to suit your own availability and location.
Peter Dornauf (MA, Dip Tchg) has taught in secondary schools, Wintec and Waikato University collectively for over 25 years. He is a well know Waikato artist, art critic and a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. His book “Days of Our Deaths” serves as the basis for one of Peter’s other popular EarthDiverse courses, “A Cultural History of Death.” Peter also teaches our “The Spiritual in Modern Art” course and continues to develop additional EarthDiverse courses for future Terms.
In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.
Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.
Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.
- Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.
- This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.
- All classes encourage questions and group discussion.
- PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!
- Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break during each session.
- There are no refunds for missed classes. Missed classes can be made up by watching the on-line recording of the class session, which is usually posted within 24 hours.
- Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.
- Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.
Cost per person per Term (8 classes):
- Waged: $125 (includes GST + online registration fee)
- Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $100 (includes GST + online registration fee)
Prices for Waged and Unwaged registrants remain the same regardless of your chosen method for accessing our courses. This means that you have the option to mix and match access between attending our regularly-scheduled live class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms, accessing our live class sessions on-line via Zoom at the regularly scheduled class meeting time (no matter where you are located), or watching the video-recorded sessions anywhere at a time and date of your choosing. This allows you to study at your own pace and in your own time.
Once registered, you have three choices for attending your course:
- attend our in-person class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms,
- Zoom in to our live classroom sessions and participate in discussions,
- access the live-recorded class sessions each week. This allows you to register for an entire course, even though the scheduled class session day/time may not be suitable to your schedule. You may also use this option to watch any recorded session for review, or in case you may miss a class session due to prior engagement, being away, or due to illness. This allows you to catch up with any “missed” sessions at a more suitable time.
Once registered, you will receive detailed instructions on how to access our courses via either of the distance-learning options, i.e. live access via Zoom, or watching the video-recorded sessions.
LOCATION: All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse offices and classrooms temporarily located at 401 Grey Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton. Please enter via the Cook Street entrance (see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front on the main entrance in any of the available car parks via the Cook Street entrance. On-street daytime parking can be found on Cook Street, Grey Street or around Steele Park. There is a single Disability car park located a few steps from the front door. Plenty of space for bicycles too!
DISTANCE LEARNING: You get to choose your location when you Zoom in to our live classroom sessions, or access our classes at your leisure and at a time and day of your choosing by watching the video recorded sessions from each class. This allows you to study at your own pace.