New Book: Being Dead Otherwise

Jieun Cho's picture

 ** Apologies for cross-posting **

Dear all,

I am delighted to announce that Being Dead Otherwise by Anne Allison (Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University) has been published from Duke University Press.

Book Description:

With an aging population, declining marriage and childbirth rates, and a rise in single households, more Japanese are living and dying alone. Many dead are no longer buried in traditional ancestral graves where descendants would tend their spirits, and individuals are increasingly taking on mortuary preparation for themselves. In Being Dead Otherwise Anne Allison examines the emergence of new death practices in Japan as the old customs of mortuary care are coming undone. She outlines the proliferation of new industries, services, initiatives, and businesses that offer alternative means—ranging from automated graves, collective grave sites, and crematoria to one-stop mortuary complexes and robotic priests—for tending to the dead. These new burial and ritual practices provide alternatives to long-standing traditions of burial and commemoration of the dead. In charting this shifting ecology of death, Allison outlines the potential of these solutions to radically reorient sociality in Japan in ways that will impact how we think about the end of life, identity, tradition, and culture in Japan and beyond.

Table of Contents:

Prelude  ix
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction  1
1. Ambiguous Bones: Dead in the Past  25
2. The Popular Industry of Death: From Godzilla to the Ending Business  47
3. Caring (Differently) for the Dead  73
4. Preparedness: A Biopolitics of Making Life Out of Death  99
5. The Smell of Lonely Death and the Work of Cleaning It Up  123
6. De-parting: The Handling of Remaindered Remains  149
7. Automated Graves: The Precarity and Prosthetics of Caring for the Dead  173
Epilogue  191
Notes  197
Bibliography  215
Index  231

Duke University Press now offers a 50% discount with the code SPRING23.
Please feel free to circulate this to your colleagues and students!

For further information, please contact Elly Veloria (elly.veloria [at]