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Thomas Laqueur to give Leff Lecture, "The Dead among the Living in Modernity," March 7


Thomas Laqueur, the Fawcett Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, will give the Arthur Allen Leff Fellow Lecture, titled "The Dead among the Living in Modernity," on Monday, March 7, 2005, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 127. The talk is free and open to the public.


Laqueur describes death and the dead body as "civilization making." In his talk, he will suggest that our ideas about the dead profoundly affect the way we live our lives.

Says Laqueur, "What is new about the dead among us--the dead in modernity--is that they are so continuously being called upon to lend their power to one view or another of what the world should be like in an age that has no fixed view of the subject. My talk is a sketch of what we might call the pluralism of death that undergirds, represents, and helps create a pluralistic, public sphere of the living."

In addition to being a professor at Berkeley, Laqueur is currently a member of the Historical School at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. He writes about the cultural history of modern Europe and has published books on topics ranging from working class religion and education during the industrial revolution to the history of sexuality and the body. He is currently completing a book on the history of death and memory. Laqueur is a founding editor of the journal Representations and writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement as well as for other journals.