Video and Audio
When his friends asked Diogenes the Cynic what he wanted done with his body after he died, he told them that they should throw it over the wall to be eaten by the beasts and birds. And why not? It was no longer his; he would not notice. In this excerpt, Thomas W. Laqueur explains why Diogenes the Cynic's views on caring for the dead were considered “preposterous” and “derelict.”
Thomas W. Laqueur is a professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley.
When his friends asked Diogenes the Cynic what he wanted done with his body after he died, he told them that they should throw it over the wall to be eaten by the beasts and birds. And why not? It was no longer his; he would not notice.
For more than 2,000 years, conversations in the West—and elsewhere—have acknowledged that Diogenes had a point. And yet we as a species care for our dead. This lecture by Thomas W. Laqueur offers an answer for why this should be the case from both a general anthropological perspective and from the vantage of particular historical cases.
Dean Lizabeth Cohen speaks on the meaning and significance of Harvard's Common Spaces initiative at Morning Prayers service in Memorial Church.
Welcoming remarks by Lizabeth Cohen, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Department of History, Harvard University
Overview of the topic by Janet Rich-Edwards, Codirector of the Science Program, Academic Ventures at the Radcliffe Institute; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University
In this panel moderated by Arthur Kleinman, Jane Ussher, Catherine Panter-Brick, and Nate Greenslit examine, largely through a social-science lens, the role of gender in conceptions of health and disease (including physical and mental health) in different societies, in determining who is responsible for health care through both formal and informal roles, and in developing understandings of risk factors and resilience.
Who Decides? | Research Priorities: The Impact of Gender on the Scope, Funding, and Analysis of Health Research
In this panel moderated by Daniel Carpenter, Peggy Orenstein, C. Noel Bairey Merz, and Barron Lerner consider whether gender drives commercial and public research in particular diseases, the politics of health campaigns, the formulation and analysis of clinical trials, and the role of the marketplace and private funding in addressing diseases that affect women and men differently.
Moderated by Paula Johnson, Ruth Katz, Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Julie Rovner discuss the implications of the Affordable Care Act for women's and men's health, including gendered issues of health care access and policy and questions of insurance and coverage.
Janet Rich-Edwards provides closing remarks.
Playwright, author, and activist Eve Ensler opens the Radcliffe Institute conference titled "Who Decides? Gender, Medicine, and the Public's Health." In this excerpt, she describes being diagnosed with cancer and reads from the introduction of her book, In the Body of the World: A Memoir of Cancer and Connection (2013). Ensler is a visiting scholar at the Radcliffe Institute.
In this lecture, Mary C. Brinton explores why fertility has dropped to very low levels in some postindustrial societies and not others. Using original in-depth interviews of young men and women in Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United States, Brinton examines how the incomplete gender-role revolution hinders family formation in the postindustrial context.