CHLS Annual Public Lecture: The Future of Human Mortality: Death, Technology and the Law

Dr John Troyer

The Centre for Health Law and Society would like to invite you to its annual Lecture on ‘The Future of Human Mortality: Death, Technology and the Law’.


Since the mid-19th century, the dead body in the Western imagination has been inextricably linked with popular fascination and industrial age human technologies. One current, dominant discussion regarding the dead body-to-technology relationship focuses on the ecologically sustainable disposal of dead bodies and transforming the funeral into a natural or green process. What the 21st century concept of natural death suggests is a 19th century pre-industrial age model that often misses the point: disposition of the dead body, by whatever means, is a humanly invented practice. A new approach to death, dying, and the dead body is only possible if we come to understand our increasingly technologically mediated mortality and its impact on the law. The future of human mortality is much less about whether or not it can be ‘cured.’ The real question is whether and if that scenario is desirable.


Dr John Troyer, Director of the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath, UK. His research is interdisciplinary and focuses on contemporary memorialization practices, postmortem bioethics, and the dead body’s relationship with technology. He is author of Technologies of the human corpse, MIT Press, forthcoming 2018. He is also a theatre director and installation artist with extensive experience in site-specific performance across the United States and Europe. He is a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk and The Future Cemetery Project.


Date: Wednesday 30 August 2017

Time: 5:30 – 7pm. Lecture starts at 6pm.

Cost: Free

Registration: Please register via Eventbrite.

La Trobe