Death, Dying, and Grief [CRN 81236]

Discipline: Human Development and Family Studies
Instructor: Fraser
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1400
End: 1520
Field Work: Day 1 | September 27, 2018 | Ghana
Prerequisites: The standard Colorado State University prerequisites -- (1) individual and family development course OR one (1) general psychology course -- have been waived by the professor. Download Syllabus

This course will enable the student to understand and critically think about the developmental and lifespan processes related to death, dying, and grief. Course material and discussion will relate to the personal and emotional identify, and integrate, and apply a contextual framework that influences coping with loss and experiences of grief, including aspects of death, dying, and loss. Students will come to recognize and conceptualize a range of loss experiences and know how to support people in their experiences of loss and grief given their own and others cultural, spiritual and contextual identities. Theories, concepts, and research relating to grief and coping with loss will be evaluated, compared, and contrasted. We will particularly attend to important medical, legal, financial, spiritual, and cross-cultural issues related to death and dying as we move from one culture to the next on our travels.

Some major topics will include current issues and concepts for death, dying, and grief studies; causes of death; cross cultural encounters with and attitudes about death; cultural and spiritual differences and similarities and grief systems; encounters with death: HIV Infection and AIDS; a cross cultural look at AIDS, dying, and social constructions; contextual practices in working with people who are dying and grieving; needs of those who are dying; end of life experiences: legal, choice, ethics, and morality; coping with loss: grief experiences, grief work and grief processes; funerals, rituals, and memories; developmental perspectives of death, dying, and grief, including childhood, adolescence, young and middle adulthood, and older adulthood; and suicide, including context, bereavement, and ways to assist those considering suicide as well as survivors. We will discuss and experience all of this in the context of the multiple cultures, faiths, and traditions we will encounter along our journey.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 1
Date: September 27, 2018

In this field class, we visit with a professor in Accra to discuss Ghanaian views of aging, death, and dying. We learn about why funeral services are important in Ghana. As a chance to mourn as well as to celebrate the life of a dearly departed, funeral services bring family and friends together in sometimes elaborate and expensive services. We also learn about the respected art of coffin making in Accra as well as, should the opportunity arise, view a portion of a funeral service in Ghana. If there is time, we visit a nursing home in Accra to discuss how Ghana is addressing the need for elder care. In keeping with the themes of the class, we discuss how aging, death, and dying are understood in Ghana and some of the ethical issues Ghana faces in caring for an aging population.

Learning Objectives:
1. Deepen our understanding of Ghanaian views of aging and death
2. Deepen our understanding of Ghanaian funeral and burial practices in Ghana
3. Deepen our understanding of Ghana to learn about views of aging and death in Ghana