What will become of our earthly remains? What rights does our corpse possess? What happens to our bodies during the various forms of cadaver disposal? These questions and more are explored in After We Die: The Life and Times of the Human Cadaver, which has just been added to the library’s collection.
The book discusses the physical, legal, and ethical issues that emerge after we die. The author argues that the corpse maintains a quasi-human status that grants it certain protected legal and moral rights. One is the right to be treated with respect and dignity, but the author demonstrates how this right is often at odds with the use of the cadaver for educational or artistic purposes. Another is the right to have its predecessor’s disposal choices upheld, and the book reviews some unconventional ways in which a person can extend a personal legacy through their corpse’s role in medical education, scientific research, or tissue transplantation.