Luke Aslanian

Luke Aslanian

Project title:  “Mortology:” how our approaches to death shape the way we live and the cultures and societies we inhabit.

Project description:  I am interested in how individuals' ideas about mortality affect the way they live and their worldviews. That is, I study how human awareness of death shapes life on an individual and societal level, and how humans’ responses to death end up influencing other aspects of and approaches (philosophical, religious, psychological, and otherwise) to living their lives. I plan to focus on not all the countless ways death pervades life but rather specifically on how a few common and/or noteworthy approaches people have used to deal with—and ignore—death molded their lives using historical and modern examples. I maintain and hope that, as everyone is going to die, humanity would benefit from thinking a lot more rigorously about how they do—and ought to—think about death.

Most important accomplishment:  My most important accomplishment in life so far was becoming fluent in Armenian while l lived in Armenia for two years before my freshman year at Cornell (though I also learned about my heritage, served others, led philanthropic efforts, and fell in love with nature while there).

Reflections on the College Scholar Program: The College Scholar Program has allowed me to make friends and acquaintances with other driven students with wide-ranging, interdisciplinary, and fascinating interests, who have already and will continue to help refine my studies; it has allowed me greater latitude, freedom, and means to study what I wish to, and to explore disciplines and interdisciplinary connections that I might not have been able to devote time to otherwise. Professors have generously given me time, counsel, and respect to a degree which I think is rare outside of the College Scholar Program (and above and beyond what I had expected), and thanks to their efforts I have learned much about my topic, academia, and what I want to do in the future. Altogether, the College Scholar program has, in a short period of time, given me these and many other benefits that would be hard to get outside of this program, blending the best that any renowned, sprawling university and small, rarefied liberal arts