|Gravestone Detail, New Braunfels, Texas|
|Etruscan Funerary Monument, 6th Century BCE|
So start thinking about this now: where are your dead people? Who are they? Do you know where your ancestors are buried? Have you actually been to their graves? Where will you, your parents, your siblings be buried? What will happen to your body when you die? Do you have a choice? Should you have a choice?
I strongly encourage you sometime this semester to go to a cemetery or two in Houston or around Texas. Just walk around and see what you can discover about our society based on where we put and how we treat our dead. See in what language the gravestones are engraved; see how the dead present themselves or are presented by the inscriptions. (There is an old joke about a gravestone in Brooklyn that says: "What are you lookin' at?") How is the cemetery organized? You will find cemeteries segregated along various lines (religious denomination, economic class, race, membership in unions or other organizations) throughout Texas.
|Grave in New Braunfels, Texas|
Gravestones and funerary monuments represent some of the oldest surviving forms of writing. What would you like your grave to communicate to people two millennia from now?
|Grave of Johannes Brahms in Vienna|