Eulogy, Elegy, Epic

October 31 – November 2, 2025

We are living in a time of great dying. Climate change is drying up our water and destroying vulnerable species; a pandemic is claiming the lives of over a million people worldwide and changing much about our ways of life. How do we register the magnitude of these losses?  When we lose individuals, we eulogize them to help keep them in memory.  When we lose great people, we elegize them to contextualize their importance to society.  When we lose not just individuals and heroes but an entire way of life, we craft epics to register the sweep of history and mourn change on a grand scale. This weekend will help us grasp mourning on a scale beyond those we are accustomed to managing. The uses of imagination, myth, memorial, ritual, and literature will be considered, as will the interplay between the mourners’ personal experience and that of the mourned.

Speakers may include Mona Simpson, whose eulogy for her brother Steve Jobs, won many accolades; Tom Hennes, exhibition designer for the South African Freedom Park, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the Pulse Nightclub Memorial Museum, and the Fort Apache Museum; Kate Daniels, author of an elegiac poem about Thomas Jefferson which also featured in her memoir about her son’s addiction; and Francoise Davoine, author of Pandemics, Wars, Traumas, and Literature: Echoes from the Front Line and History Beyond Trauma.

Coordinator: Billie Pivnick, Ph.D.