study guide

Study/Discussion Guide

[Contact dignityinboston to make suggestions.]

Following are suggested educational activities, resources, and discussion questions regarding the ethics and controversy surrounding the Body Worlds exhibits at the Museum  and BODIES…The Exhibition and similar exhibits  IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO VISIT THE EXHIBIT TO USE THIS STUDY GUIDE.
1. Ethical questions involving the exhibit
a.     Describe the exhibit. Base your description on the Museum of Science (or other museum) exhibit website or on a visit.
b.     What are your first impressions after studying the web site or seeing the exhibit?
c.     Decide the best way to research this subject.
d.     How do people respond to the exhibit, both visitors and non-visitors? How do you know?
e.     Describe the claims the exhibit makes about itself.
f.     List as many objections to the exhibit as you can. Include the source of the objections.
g.     Does the exhibit respond to the objections? How? Is the response effective?
h.     Has your opinion changed after learning about the criticisms? What is your view, and how did you form it?

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2.     Explore funeral customs of different cultures and religions.
    How is the body to be treated after death? How is the relationship between body, mind, and spirit understood by different religions and cultures?

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3. Discuss use of human bodies in education and research.
a. What is the history of the use of bodies in research and education, including human dissection?   
b. How has their use been controversial?
c. What laws, rules, or customs govern the use of bodies in the United States? In other countries?

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4. Public relations and the media.
a. How does the  exhibit publicize itself?
b. Discuss how the various media (newspapers, magazines, on-line news-zines, radio and TV report or discuss the exhibit.
c. How do critics of the exhibit publicize their case?
d. Try to separate facts from opinions.

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5. These exhibits attract  large audiences, and many of the attendees appear to be fascinated. Discuss who the critics are, why their number appears to be small, and the pros and cons of actively opposing these exhibits. How should a person decide what cause is worth fighting for?

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6. Discuss whether and to what extent ethical considerations should be allowed to influence public policy, and the individual decisions we make.

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Resources:

On this site: media, Comments
Vancouver's Scienceworld
Body Worlds official site                                                                                                                            Bodies the exhibition official site
Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_Worlds
Boston Globe review byJoanna Weiss 7-29-06 : Insides out'Body Worlds 2' is part education, part self-promotion
Boston Phoenix Twenty million corpse fans can’t be wrong
http://dignityinboston.googlepages.com/home
Google suggested search terms: body worlds, body words controversy
NPR commentary by bio-ethicist Ruth  Guyer