Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Class information

ATH234 Crosscultural Death

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  • CRN: 31854
  • Credits: 4
  • Notes: This is an 8 week class
  • Locations, days, times, and instructors:
    • Online, Available 24/7
      From June 27 through August 20, 2022, Kerry J Pataki

Class materials


Find out which textbooks are required for this class.

Open educational resources (OER)

The following free or inexpensive materials are used for this class:

Details about this class

THIS UNUSUAL ONLINE COURSE (Summer Term 2022, 8 weeks long) is a study of the cross-cultural variations regarding human responses to death and dying. In it, the cultural universal of death is addressed in its cross-cultural diversity from an anthropological perspective. The subject of death as viewed and experienced by cultures of the world is explored, including traditional and newer practices in the United States. The course assesses these materials and brings students into contact with this information and its personal relevance. All work is online, there are class discussions and exercises, two assessments (aka midterm and final) an interesting and brief personal project, and selected films. The course, originally F2F, has proven valuable over almost two decades, and in fact directly helpful to some. An introductory course in anthropology or sociology is helpful, but  the course is structured openly for all interested persons. This summer course is eight weeks long, and we keep busy. Audit is available.

Since many texts available for this subject reflect western perspectives, structures and proprieties in particular or are immersed in explicit non-western cultural practices, we focus on the pan-cultural (global) anthropological context for fuller comparative, personal and experiential perspectives. There are two "texts" for this course: one is free (an OER text), Death and Bereavement Across Cultures which we will use for selected chapters and reference, available OL from the PCC library, and the other is From Here To Eternity by Caitlin Doughty, a best-seller paperback on contemporary global death practices. Both are succinct, informative and readable. The PCC Sylvania bookstore has copies of the Doughty, and you can certainly search online for it: try Powell's, Amazon and my favorite, abebooks.com. 

If you are worried about OL classes:  (1) the mechanics of actually doing the course are built into it and very accessible; and  (2) it is entirely possible to feel part of a group and communicate personally in an online course: in fact, THAT is what we do in this course. 

I hope to meet you virtually in this exploration!

Dr. K. J. Pataki




Online class information

No show policy
Your instructor can mark you as a "no show" if you do not participate in your class during the first week. This will remove you from the class. It is important to log in as soon as the class starts to see what the participation requirements are.
Online & Remote Teaching Technical Requirements:
Please be sure to read the quick guide to Online Learning technical requirements.
Students with Disabilities:
Students with disabilities should notify their instructor if accommodations are needed to take this class. For information about technologies that help people with disabilities taking Online based classes please visit the Disability Services website.
Online Prerequisite | Start Guide for Online Learning:
Before you take your first online class at PCC, you must complete the start guide for online learning. The start guide will help you decide if online classes are right for you. Once you complete the start guide, you will be eligible to register for online classes.

The Start Guide is not required for Hybrid or Remote Classes but strongly recommended. To learn more, go to https://www.pcc.edu/osg