final paper

For this project, you are to use Online searches to virtually “visit” two sites of death. These sites can be of the same religion, different religion, or different group within a religion. The purpose of these visits is to gain a visceral insight into the lived experience of body enshrinement, mourning, disposal, memorials to, and interment of the deceased. Your primary goal is to observe and think holistically about what these sacred spaces tells you about life and death – think about variations in life-styles, stages (age), class, gender, belief, values, health, architecture, space used, generations, culture, and religions. What similarities and differences do you see? For example: try to find catacombs, charnel houses, burial pits (plague), cemeteries, chapels, public memorials, gravesites, family burial plots, mausoleums, war sites, road side shrines, crematoriums, death camps, etc… Also look for sections at the area you have chosen (i.e. observe segmentation, separation, segregation, etc…). If your site is a cemeteries, mausoleum, or crematorium, you can email them about all their services. Many war memorials, war sites (like battlefields or Hiroshima, or the camps from WWII) have websites that contain valuable information.

Please download images or screen shot your two sites – documenting your experiences, recording your thoughts and feelings.

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At your two virtual sites:

1) Spend some time virtually exploring each site, as you observe, note, and experience the landscape that separates or ensnares death. If we are allowed to physically visit places and you chose to, I recommend you go with someone else (a classmate, friend).

2) Get images of what you’re observing, of your chosen site / plot / gravestone (you’ll include some of these in your paper as an appendix) If you actually go somewhere, avoid taking pictures of human subjects, who are probably at these sites to mourn a loved one.

3) Closely observe – are there writings, markings, strange signage, memorabilia, signs of mourning, signs that someone recently visited?

4)Look at the architecture / art present, note importance, then you can research meaning later

5)Are the grounds well – kept, is the site worn / deteriorated

6)Is there any sign of national origin / ethnicity

7) Look for special markers that indicate HOW a person may have died

8) Note anything that surprises you / you don’t understand

9)Jot down notes to yourself – your thoughts and feelings –so you will clearly remember why you took them and what intrigued you (and you will already have some of your assignment complete)


1) Introduce the two chosen sites and elucidate a thesis from your observations. How do the sites speak to each other? How can they be spoken of together to inform how we think about and confront death?

2) Analyze the possible meaning surrounding your two sites based on what you read in our class readings, articles, etc… by using at least 3 citations from our course readings or other readings you have found to analyze the sites and possible implications for society. No encyclopedias please. Use APA, MLA, Chicago style…

3) Compare the two sites. Why you did specifically choose these two sites? Is there a drastic difference between them? Is one public and one private? How are kept? Who is buried, who is remembered, and who is left to history? What does our way of remembrance / commemoration / mourning say about our society / people?

Embed or attach your images. This will allow me to see what you are seeing leading to your inferences.
For those doing a podcast or video, you still need to credit all your sources. I will provide accebcqss to podcast training if needed.

Expert Answer:

Virtual Visit 1: The Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris are an underground burial site located in the city of Paris, France. They are a network of tunnels and chambers that contain the remains of over 6 million people. The Catacombs were originally created in the 18th century as a solution to the problem of overflowing cemeteries in Paris. The bones of people from the city’s cemeteries were exhumed and transferred to the Catacombs.

As I virtually explored the Catacombs, I observed that the tunnels and chambers were filled with rows upon rows of bones and skulls. Some of the bones were arranged in decorative patterns, while others were stacked in piles. The walls of the Catacombs were also adorned with plaques and inscriptions, including the names of some of the people whose remains were interred there.

One of the most striking features of the Catacombs was the sense of history and death that permeated the air. The tunnels and chambers were dark and quiet, and it was easy to feel a sense of solemnity and reverence as I walked through them.

There were also several signs of mourning and remembrance present in the Catacombs. Many of the bones were adorned with flowers and other decorations, and there were several plaques and inscriptions honoring the deceased.

The architecture of the Catacombs was also noteworthy. The tunnels and chambers were carved out of the stone beneath the city, and the bones were arranged in an orderly and aesthetically pleasing manner. The Catacombs were well-maintained, with clean and well-lit paths leading through the tunnels.

Overall, my virtual visit to the Catacombs of Paris gave me a sense of the history and cultural significance of death in France. The Catacombs serve as a reminder of the many people who have lived and died in the city, and of the importance of remembering and honoring their memory.

Virtual Visit 2: The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his wife, who died in childbirth. The Taj Mahal is considered one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the world, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As I virtually explored the Taj Mahal, I was struck by the grandeur and beauty of the building. The mausoleum is made of white marble, and it is adorned with intricate carvings and patterns. The gardens surrounding the Taj Mahal are also beautiful, with well-manicured lawns and a variety of flowers and plants.

One of the most striking features of the Taj Mahal is the sense of love and devotion that it represents. The building was created as a tribute to the Emperor’s wife, and it is a testament to the enduring power of love and devotion.

The Taj Mahal is also a site of mourning and remembrance. The mausoleum contains the tombs of the Emperor and his wife, and it is a place where people come to pay their respects to the deceased.

The architecture of the Taj Mahal is also noteworthy. The building is an example of Mughal architecture, which is a fusion of Indian and Persian styles. The Taj Mahal is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the architects and artisans who created it.

Overall, my virtual visit to the Taj Mahal gave me a sense of the cultural significance of death and remembrance in India. The Taj Mahal is a beautiful and poignant tribute to the enduring power of love and devotion, and it serves as a reminder

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