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ANTH225 Rites of Passage: Death, Grief and Ritual

An introduction to the anthropological analysis of responses to death and dying, drawing on cross-cultural case studies and relevant anthropological theories of grief, mourning and funerary practice.

This paper contextualises a variety of historical and contemporary responses to death and critically examines the development of ‘modern’ death practices.

Paper is offered in yearly rotation with ANTH 228 Anthropology of Religion.

Paper title Rites of Passage: Death, Grief and Ritual
Paper code ANTH225
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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ANTH 103 or ANTH 105 or 54 points
ANTH 325
Schedule C
Arts and Music
This paper is designed for students with and without strong backgrounds in Anthropology.

Teaching staff

Dr Susan Wardell

Teaching Arrangements

One 2-hour lecture per week plus one tutorial per week.

Mixture of both internal assessment and exam.


All readings on eReserve.

Course outline

Will be available on Blackboard at the beginning of the course.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Understand some of the seminal anthropological approaches/theories around the study of death and dying
  • Link specific death-related practices to broader social and cultural contexts
  • Identify the role of cultural values in debates around ethics and care in relation to death, dying, and the dead
  • Critically and reflexively consider the scope and limits of academic knowledge about grief and mourning

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Thursday 13:00-13:50 29-34, 36-41
A2 Thursday 14:00-14:50 29-34, 36-41
A3 Thursday 15:00-15:50 29-34, 36-41