Offered:

  • This coursewill be offered again in 2023 and usually follows our “A Cultural History of Death” course.

Date & Time:

  • This course will be offered again in 2023.

Time Zone equivalents:

for live-streaming Zoom Sessions from New Zealand

  • Honolulu, Hawai’i:

  • US Pacific:

  • US Eastern:

  • London, UK:

  • Paris, France:

  • New Delhi, India:

  • Bangkok, Thailand:

  • Singapore:

  • Sydney, Australia:

Description:

  • As we progress into the twenty-first century, people have become a little bolder and braver in regard to talking about what was once a taboo subject. Death has come out of the closet and people are now wanting to confront the subject from all possible angles. No longer shy or diffident, there is a desire and need to talk about a host of issues that surround what has been described as the extreme event in life. This course will cater for those who wish to explore the question of death with a range of prepared topics each week for open forum discussion. Come with your own questions and experiences and opinions on matters that touch at the heart of the human condition.

Week 1: Funerals

date: to be announced

In the age of secularisation, more and more people are organising their own funerals in halls and function rooms with a celebrant officiating. New rituals have been invented with new technologies involved. Cremation has become more common. Natural burials have also become an option. Yet in all of this, some say New Zealanders don’t do death or funerals well.

Week 2: Euthanasia and Suicide

date: to be announced

Since November 2021, euthanasia has been legal in New Zealand. How does this sit with the sanctity of life? Are the conditions surrounding the legality too strict? Should one need to be terminally ill before being allowed to die by one’s own hand or the hand of others? What of suicide? What of the death penalty for heinous crimes?

Week 3: Preparing for Death

date: to be announced

Woody Allen once quipped that he wasn’t afraid to die, he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. How can one prepare for death? What is involved in a “good death”? Fear of death and coping mechanisms.

Week 4: An Afterlife?

date: to be announced

Less and less people believe in an afterlife. Why? Is this a premature judgement? How does it affect one’s attitude to death? What about Near Death Experiences? Would you want to live forever?

Week 5: Grief and Loss

date: to be announced

What about the ones left behind? How to handle grief and the loss of loved ones? Are there really stages when it comes to bereavement? How do you explain death to a child? Should one tell lies?

Week 6: Funeral Expenses, etc.

date: to be announced

The money. Wills. The cost of funerals and burials. Types of coffins: flat-packs, the New Zealand way. New Zealand cemeteries – their care, aesthetics, changes, rules and regulations.

Week 7: Palliative Care

date: to be announced

Palliative care. Hospice. Drugs. Trends regarding where one dies. In the past it was normal to die in one’s own home. Now more often it happens in hospitals surrounded with tubes and monitors. Some are pushing back against this practice of the medicalization of death.

Week 8: The Meaning of Death

date: to be announced

Death ain’t that bad. Name all the positive things about death. What do the philosophers have to say about the subject? Some claim death gives meaning to life. Others speak of the nothingness curled like a worm in the heart of being.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • EarthDiverse Zoom instructions

  2. 2
    • Week 1: Introduction: Funerals

  3. 3
    • Week 2: Euthanasia, Suicide, Death Penalty

  4. 4
    • Week 3: Preparing for Death

  5. 5
    • Week 4: Does an Afterlife Exist?

  6. 6
    • Week 5: Grief and Bereavement

  7. 7
    • Week 6: Paying for it all

  8. 8
    • Week 7: Palliative Care

  9. 9
    • Week 8: The Meaning of Death

Meet our Instructors:

Literature Instructor

Peter Dornauf, MA Dip Tchg

Peter Dornauf has taught in secondary schools, Wintec and Waikato University collectively for over 25 years. He is a well know Waikato artist, art critic and a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. His book “Days of Our Deaths” serves as the basis for one of Peter’s other popular EarthDiverse courses, “A Cultural History of Death.” Peter also teaches our “The Spiritual in Modern Art” course and continues to develop additional EarthDiverse courses for future Terms.

Location:

EarthDiverse, 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton East, Hamilton or online via Zoom. We're located just a couple of shops north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station on the same side of the Street. We're located on the first floor, above Copier Word. Our Entrance is on the left side of the building. Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front of Anglesea Street.
Location

Distance Learning:

This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:

  • Attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time.

  • Attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regularly scheduled day and time.

  • Watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.

Distance-Learning option:

  • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.

  • Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.

  • Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.

Pricing options:

All prices in New Zealand dollars. Unwaged includes students, seniors and retirees.

Notes:

  • Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.

  • This class has no assignments, quizzes, tests or exams.

  • You will not need to purchase any reading materials. All classes encourage questions and group discussion.

  • PDF copies of each class presentation are posted on the course webpage each week (along with the recorded videos) and are available for all registered participants. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

  • Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single session without registering.

  • Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.

Prerequisites:

  • There are no prerequisites for this course.