Since COVID-19, we have all become more aware of death. We are bombarded with data on a weekly basis, watching charts and calculating deaths, all while trying to function in our daily lives. But our anxieties around death are not new, even if this pandemic is bringing them front and centre. What’s new is that everyone is talking about death rather than just those directly affected by it.
In this atmosphere, writer David Swick became fascinated by a unique postsecondary degree program in thanatology—the study of death—and by the students that feel compelled to dive deep into what is often a taboo subject. Swick is an assistant professor at the University of King’s College, in Halifax, where he teaches journalism ethics.