by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” – Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies (1927)
A recent exchange on the bioethics listserv began with a panicked message that the Presidential bioethics commissions website (bioethics.gov) has gone dark. A flurry of messages asked what this might mean for bioethics and for meaningful moral discourse in the Trump administration. Soon, cooler heads prevailed explaining that Georgetown retains the repository of all of the several commissions and that the website came down on January 20, at the transition of power. When there is a transition of administration, it is standard (in the internet age) for websites to come down from old programs and to change while new staff and programs are instituted.…
Care Paradigm: Challenges to the Regulation of the Funeral Industry and the American Way of Death."
There have been a number of academic conferences addressing death and deathcare, but this symposium is unique because it is focused on the very active legal, political, and grassroots challenges to the funeral industry and the dominant paradigm of death care in this country.
There are two main fronts of challenge to the existing paradigm – first, from those primarily concerned with the occupational licensing regime that shapes the funeral industry and the choices available to the public (i.e. court challenges to the casket laws and the ready to embalm laws); and second, from those primarily concerned with promoting new methods of memorialization and disposition.