The Good Funeral - " Value of Care"

UCSB's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Examines 'The Value of Care'

Series continues winter quarter with lectures on death, grief and 'New Age' architecture
Matthias Hollwich - The Value of Care

Continuing its yearlong series “The Value of Care,” UC Santa Barbara’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center hosts a talk by preacher Thomas G. Long and funeral director Thomas Lynch on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Lynch, also a poet and the author of “The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade,” and Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, will discuss the state of the funeral industry and current funeral practices. From their differing points of view, they will explore several challenges facing “the good funeral.” Among them are the commercial aspects that have created a growing suspicion of funeral directors, the sometimes tense relationships between pastors and funeral directors, the tendency of modern funerals to exclude the body from the service and the growing popularity of cremation.

Their talk, “The Good Funeral: Death, Grief and the Community of Care,” begins at 5 p.m. in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.

“The Value of Care” series explores the many ways in which cultures and societies have organized themselves around care, and the ways in which care, as a creative and transformative constant of human life, links individuals to one another and to institutions and communities of often global reach. “The Value of Care” draws upon speakers in education, philosophy, labor studies, architecture and feminist studies. All events are free and open to the public.

Among other winter-quarter events is a talk by Matthias Hollwich, a Bavarian architect on a mission. The founder of New York architecture firm Hollwich Kushner and a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Hollwich organized the New Aging conference in 2010, which brought together the worlds of aging and architecture. New Aging investigates and applies recent advances in architecture and urbanism dealing with age-related challenges, advances that assure the best utilization of space with the utmost dignity for an aging population.

According to Hollwich, the built environment is just one part of what needs to be a radical makeover in how society deals with an increasing proportion of elderly citizens. His talk, “New Aging: Designing Architecture for All Ages,” begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, John Aubrey Douglass, a senior research fellow at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley will discuss how reduced funding from the state for public higher education, including the UC system, has essentially severed the historic link between state allocations and enrollment, altering the incentive for — and ability of — UC to expand academic programs and enrollment in pace with California’s growing population. His talk, “To Grow or Not to Grow: Post-Recession Challenges Facing UC,” begins at 4 p.m. in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, Francis Dunn, professor of classics at UCSB, will consider several case studies of narrative care from ancient Athens, demonstrating that modern developments have ancient precedents and arguing that the different institutional contexts require us to rethink our assumptions about narrative care.

Narrative care — narrative medicine, narrative social work and narrative forensics — seeks to make social practices more responsive to the situations of individuals and more effective in addressing their needs. Dunn’s talk, “Narrative Care, Ancient and Modern,” begins at 4 p.m. in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

On Tuesday, March 4, Sheldon Rothblatt, a historian at UC Berkeley, will discuss “In Defense of a Liberal Education.” Rothblatt’s research centers in part on the history of universities in relation to society and culture; the history of campus planning and architecture; and the history of liberal learning in the United States, Britain and Continental Europe. His talk will begin at 4 p.m. in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

More information about the “The Value of Care” series, including a complete schedule of events and locations, can be found at

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