News Release: Arts and Humanities, Events, Research, Student Life

Dec. 10,  2008

Culture, Family, Memory Researchers Gather at Emory

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Experts on memory, family history and culture from Denmark, Germany and the United States will gather at Emory University for a two-day conference Dec. 11-12 on "Culture, Family and Communicative Memory."

The conference, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL) and the Emory Cognition Project. Conference schedule.

"The ways in which we remember the events of our lives are shaped by our families and the larger communities and cultures in which we live," says Robyn Fivush, chair of Emory's psychology department and Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of psychology. "Who we are as individuals is very much defined by our social cultural place in the world." A core faculty member of MARIAL, Fivush is co-organizing the conference with colleagues from Germany, Tilmann Habermas and Harald Wexler.

Moderators include Fivush and MARIAL colleagues Marshall Duke, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology, and Bradd Shore, director of the MARIAL Center and an anthropologist. Researchers from Denmark, Germany, Duke University, Northwestern University, the New School for Social Research in New York and Holy Cross University will discuss their work.

"Researchers from around the world will come together to consider how memory develops in childhood and throughout adulthood through family stories and cultural myths," Fivush says. "Information shared at this conference will help us better understand the complex processes by which individuals come to define themselves in relation to the social groups in which they live."

The Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL) is one of five Sloan Centers on Working Families, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Emory Center focuses its research on the functions and significance of ritual and myth in dual wage-earner middle-class families in the American South.

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