Death Under the Signs of GenderThe grammatical gender of the word death differs in both modern and ancient languages - the German „Tod“, ancient Greek „thanatos“, Latin „mors“ - providing a first indication that perceptions of death are informed by gender. Not only this but the concrete attitudes towards, and experiences with death are not the same for men and women; they are gender-specific. Thus far, these gendered aspects of death have scarcely been noticed, let alone taken seriously.
The research team consists of four female professors of theology, based at the University of Bern, who all have a focus on Gender Studies, examining the relations between Gender and Death from within their own research fields (Bible studies, church history, systematical theology/dogmatic, practical theology/spiritual care). The long-term goal of the whole project is the editing of a theological compendium on gender and death. Although the project is primarily intradisciplinary, addressing questions within theological studies, it is also interdiscipinary in its implications and in its conversation partners and greater scholarly networks. The following doctoral dissertation projects will be carried out: 1. Suicide in the Old Testament. A genderfocused study. The project will focus on the question why suicide in the Old Testament is only told with respect to men, never to women. 2. Obituaries, thanatographies and the politics of memory: gender and identity in German and Swiss Old Catholicism (1871-1924). The doctoral dissertation in church history will analyse obituaries and other necrological genres, concerning the lives of (canonized) diseased persons. 3. Stillbirth from an eschatological perspective. This systematic-theological thesis focuses on the eschatological hope of consummating finite life beyond death and its implications for the situation of stillborn babies and their orphaned mothers (and fathers).