Portrait photo Saskya Tschebann

Saskya Tschebann, BA MA

DOC fellowship Austrian Academy of Sciences


E-Mail: s.tschebann@gmail.com 


Member of the research group CaSt:

Research Focus Areas

  • Care
  • End-of-Life
  • Death and Dying
  • North America

Short Biography

Saskya Tschebann studied socio-cultural anthropology in Vienna, Austria, before taking part in the joint-master program CREOLE in Vienna and Lyon, France. Under the supervision of Estella Weiss-Krejci she investigated the natural burial movement during her fieldwork in France (master thesis title`Till Death do us Part: Ethnographic Account of the Cemetery Cimetière Naturel de Souché in Niort, France), while being a member of the interdisciplinary HERA-funded project DEEPDEAD (deploying the dead). She is currently focusing on her PhD project about end-of-life care on the US Central Coast supervised by Tatjana Thelen and funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Dissertation Project

As You Lay Dying: End-of-life doulas imagining a ‘good’ death at the interstices of public and private care?

Betreuerin: Tatjana Thelen

Relations of power, notions of personhood and belonging are processes closely intertwined with care practices and particularly vulnerable and magnified during the end-of-life phase. Support during the end-of-life phase and education about death care practices by associations and non- profit organizations have seen a surge in recent decades in the United States, bringing about a new role within U.S. American end-of-life care: the end-of-life (EOL) doula. These doulas propose a client-centered ‘holistic’ non-medical approach to premortem and postmortem care and move between institutions and the home, dichotomies of private and public, kin/non-kin and the medical and non-medical. Asking how EOL doulas understand ‘good dying’ and translate that into their practices in institutional (hospice) and private settings, I aim at elucidating negotiations of ‘good’ care in the face of actual differences. I intend to research this question through following their various practices that range from the beginning of the end-of-life process, including ritualistic practices, legacy work, spiritual care, vigil and funeral planning, to washing and dressing the body and caring for kin-members through grief work.

Selected Publications

  • Tschebann, S. 2022, Cemetery Enchanted, Encore: Natural Burial in France and Beyond. In: Weiss-Krejci, E., Becker, S., Schwyzer, P. (eds) Interdisciplinary Explorations of Postmortem Interaction. Bioarchaeology and Social Theory. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-03956-0_11
  • Tschebann, S. 2021, End-of-life doulas transcending public and private realms of care in California. Truth and responsibility, American Anthropological Association annual meeting, Baltimore, MD, 17-21 November (online poster presentation).
  • Tschebann, S. 2020, Till' death do us part: Ethnographic account of the cemetery “cimetière naturel de Souché” in Niort, France. Spaces of death in contemporary urban spaces RAI Anthropology and Geography conference, Royal Anthropology Institute in London, England, 14-15 September (online).