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Updated 4:00 PM May 18, 2004



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  U-M-Dearborn series
Whistling past the graveyard

Four U-M-Dearborn faculty members will lecture on graveyards, gravestones and images of death during a four-week series of talks in May and June.

U-M-Dearborn professors Jacqueline Vansant and Ronald Stockton tour Detroit's Woodmere Cemetery, preparing for their "Graveyards 101" lecture series. The series begins May 12 with "Death and Dying in Pre-Modern Europe." (Photo by Terry Gallagher)

All lectures will be at 7 p.m. Wednesdays May 12-June 2 in Room 1030 of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Building on the U-M-Dearborn campus. The lectures are free and open to the community.

The series was planned to offer entertainment and education for the public, says political science Professor Ronald Stockton, who organized the series.

Stockton became interested in the topic when he began surveying a graveyard in southern Illinois where his relatives have been buried since the mid-1800s. In the process, he discovered some historically significant trends in the population in the region, and wrote a scholarly article called "Death on the Frontier."

Stockton will speak June 2 on "Images of Death in Comparative Perspective." History Professor Elaine Clark will discuss "Death and Dying in Pre-Modern Europe" May 12, and humanities Professor Jacqueline Vansant will present "Death in Vienna" May 19.

"I've always been interested in cemeteries and what they say about a community and a culture," Vansant says. "The ceremonies and rituals surrounding death have played an important role in Austrian society, and in Vienna there are so many fascinating ways to examine the society through this particular viewpoint."

Humanities Professor Randal Woodland will continue the series May 26 with "The New Orleans Way of Death."

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