The UB Dose of Science continues with the topic “Death and loss in the 21st century” in a presentation of lecturer Adela Toplean, PhD, professor at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest.
As Adela Toplean points out, after the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 9, 2001, which shocked the whole world, but also after the tragedy at Colectiv and the Hexi Pharma scandal, we Romanians also entered an “absolutely infernal carousel”. Thus, the pandemic and the war in a neighboring country did nothing but amplify this soul weakness and “the contorted relationship, absolutely dramatic, with danger”.
Adding to this the fact that the ultra-technological society that we live in brings suffering “in the eyes of the whole world” through the multitude of communication sources we have access to, including social networks, in recent decades our relationship with death and loss has substantially changed.
As such, Adela Toplean proposes that, starting from this presentation made with the tools of thanatology, we seek together the answer to three fundamental questions: 1. How do we meet danger? 2. What do we practically do when the misfortune happens? and 3. What happens when we face loss?
Regarding the mission assumed by Death Studies, the guest of episode 6 of the UB Dose of Science shows that the role of the thanatologist is to provide a “certain intelligibility to death”. But it also offers a perspective over its meanings. Today, thanatology is not just about theoretical responsibility, about evaluations and systematizations of the practices of death. Thanatology also assumes some civic responsibilities, to correct, to redefine certain practices.
The sixth episode of the UB Dose of Science can be accessed with just one click below.
Adela Toplean studied at the University of Bucharest, at Sorbonne (Paris V), in Sweden, at the University of Lund, in the USA at Berkeley University (Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies), was a fellow of the Swedish Institute and twice fellow of the New Europe College. She is a specialist in thanatology/Death Studies, PhD in philology with a paper on Death and the Afterlife in modern discourse and popular beliefs. She has published numerous studies on the sociology of death in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany. She is a founding member of the Romanian Association of Religious Studies and a member of the Association for the Study of Death and Society. Since 2011 she has been lecturer at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest. She has written numerous academic articles and several books on thanatology. Adela Toplean’s academic profile, which provides some of her work, can be accessed here.
Launched in October 2021, the UB Dose of Science is a project that proposes a focused and dynamic way to communicate scientific information in an attractive, intense, and expressive format, establishing a platform for dialogue with the public interested in science.
Initiated within the Science Communication Program, launched by the University of Bucharest during 2018, the UB Dose of Science addresses the public and encourages the connection between the academic and non-academic environment, based on current and interesting topics.
The guests of this series, meant to represent a synthetic and captivating way of communicating the various fields of science, are mainly professors and researchers from the academic community of the University of Bucharest.
The materials from the UB Dose of Science include short and dynamic presentations of topics relevant to contemporary society: pollution, climate change, pandemic, education, digitalization and others. Thus, in addition to the fundamental dimension of communicating scientifically validated information, the UB Dose of Science also proposes an important component of social responsibility, reconfirming the role and mission of the University of Bucharest in society and its contribution to awareness of severe issues of today’s world and popularization of possible solutions to these problems.