Death and the Settling and Unsettling of Oregon

death symposium

On Thursday, Nov. 7, the Oregon Historical Quarterly is hosting a day-long symposium called “Death and the Settling and Unsettling of Oregon.” If you can’t make the symposium, be sure to come to OHS that evening for the keynote presentation by Lauren Kessler on Oregon’s complicated relationship with Death with Dignity.

Tickets on sale online!

Mythology has painted Oregon as an Edenic wilderness that was peopled through the migration of Oregon Trail pioneers, but the American settlement of Oregon was profoundly unsettling for the region’s Native peoples who had lived rich lives here for millennia and continue to do so today. This symposium assesses the role of death in both the settling and unsettling of Oregon as well as in the history and public memory of that era.

Papers presented throughout the day will make up the bulk of the symposium schedule. A morning session, free and open to the public, will set the tone through recognition that sacred ways of honoring ancestors continue to thrive in tribal communities today. The evening keynote address will broaden the topic from the era of resettlement to social and cultural experiences with death in Oregon and the United States today. The Oregon Historical Quarterly plans to draw scholarship from this symposium that can be considered for publication in a possible special issue of the journal devoted to the subject of death.

This symposium is organized by Oregon Historical Quarterly Editor Eliza Canty-Jones and University of Oregon Professor of History and Environmental Studies Dr. Matthew Dennis.

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