News Release: Religion and Ethics

Jan. 28,  2009

Family Memory Research Featured on Emory's iTunes U

A scholar's reflection on his mother's Alzheimer's is one of four lectures from an international conference on family memory available on Emory's iTunes University Web site. Psychologist Mark Freeman of the College of the Holy Cross talked about how his mother's identity was affected by her descent into dementia. "Her new identity is that she is not herself," he said.

The two-day conference on Culture, Family and Communicative Memory was sponsored by the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life (MARIAL) and the Emory Cognition Project.

The other lectures include:

Retelling: Bartlett Revisted by German scholar Harald Welzer, who describes how family members change stories their Nazi grandparents told;

The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By by Dan McAdams, a Northwestern University psychology professor who studies redemptive life stories of adults; and

Building Shared Memories Through Communication by William Hirst of the New School for Social Research.

Researchers from Germany, Denmark and American universities described their research on family narratives, which serve as "life scripts" that set the stage for personal development as children grow, and how people change their memories to suit their own needs.


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