Adrian Kase

Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Fellow

20172018 Forum on Afterlives

Adrian Kase

Biological Basis of Behavior

CAS, 2018

Adrian is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Biological Basis of Behavior. She currently studies the genetic basis of behavior in Pharaoh ants in Professor Timothy Linksvayer's lab. Along with her interest in evolutionary biology, she is also passionate about literature, Classics, and theater. She has been performing with The Underground Shakespeare Company of West Philadelphia since her freshman year. She is specifically interested in studying the ways in which storytelling, science, and history can intersect in order to better understand human behavior. For the Forum on Afterlives, she is studying how the portrayal of death and the afterlife in comedic movies could potentially be used to normalize the idea of death.

Normalizing Death and the Afterlife Through Comedic Films

The idea of death is intrinsically linked with concepts of tragedy. Because of this, how do we reconcile the sometimes surprising use of death and the afterlife in comedic films? This project seeks to explore comedic films that depict different versions of the afterlife, such as Defending Your Life, Wristcutters, and Beetlejuice, and the critiques surrounding them in order to analyze how they are a means of normalizing death to the viewer. This expands into the realm of psychology in order to examine if and how there are therapeutic applications for dealing with the afterlife in a light-hearted or comedic manner.