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December 6, 2007

Johnson asked to write two chapters for the upcoming Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience

Dr. Chris Johnson, professor of gerontology and sociology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, is currently participating in one of the biggest undertakings in the field of thanatology. Johnson has been asked to write two chapters for the upcoming Encyclopedia of Death and Human Experience.

Dr. Dennis Peck, department of sociology at the University of Alabama, and Dr. Clifton D. Bryant, professor emeritus in the sociology department at Virginia Tech University, are the co-editors of this monumental work.

As a faculty member of one of the South’s leading gerontology programs, the Institute of Gerontology at ULM, Johnson was approached to write two chapters for this encyclopedia. His first chapter is titled, “Funeral and Funeralization in Major Religious Traditions.” The other chapter is “Eschatology in Major Religious Traditions.”

He is also completing a third edition to the best-selling book, “How Different Religions View Death and Afterlife” (Charles Press), slated for a late spring or early summer 2008 release.

Johnson will teach a “Seminar in Death and Dying” online during Wintersession at ULM and in the classroom during the spring semester of 2008. For those interested in participating, the seminar is an elective in the master’s or certificate programs in gerontology at ULM.

For more information on the online master’s in gerontology program, contact Dr. Jay Bulot, the department head, at (318) 342-1432 or go online to:

More about the upcoming Encyclopedia of Death and Human Experience:

Scholarly interest in the varied dimensions of death and dying has led to the development of death studies that move beyond medical research, including behavioral science disciplines and practitioner-oriented fields such as psychology, gerontology, sociology, thanatology, anthropology, social work, counseling, law, and family studies.

As a result of this interdisciplinary interest, the literature in the field of death and the human experience studies has proliferated. Death-related terms and concepts such as appropriate death, body farms, contemporary and historical causes of death, caregiving and the death-care industry, dance of death (danse macabre), equivocal death, end-of-life decision-making, life insurance, the history of hospice, near-death experiences, cemeteries, memorials, viatical settlements, suicide, medical mistakes, advance directives, family and caregiver stress, SIDS, cryonics, cyber-funerals, global beliefs and traditions, death denial, and social movements as well as interdisciplinary and practitioner-oriented perspectives on death now hold important family, economic, medical, legal, and global social psychological consequences.

So now, many terms and phrases are part of common everyday social discourse and media reporting. The lexicon relating to dying, death, and the human experience is expansive, thus lending itself to the need to establish consistency in "vocabulary of death" meanings. The Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience does so, and this two-volume library reference is enriched through multidisciplinary contributions and perspective as it arranges, organizes, defines, and clarifies an impressive list of more than 300 death-related concepts for the use of students and scholars, while facilitating a more refined and sensitive understanding of the field for an increasingly interested public.

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