Illustrative image for The Meanings of Dementia Interpreting Cultural Narratives of Aging Societies

The Meanings of Dementia: Interpreting Cultural Narratives of Aging Societies

Project Co-Directors: Nancy Berlinger, The Hastings Center and Erin Gentry Lamb, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Editorial Team: Liz Bowen, State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University; Kate de Medeiros, Concordia University, and Janelle Taylor, University of Toronto

Funder: National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Program

This project is exploring how diverse groups in aging societies make meaning out of their perceptions, observations, experiences, and values concerning dementia, creating cultural narratives that inform social attitudes and public policy. The project will produce an open-access supplement to the Hastings Center Report consisting of 18 new essays that consider cultural narratives concerning dementia that circulate in the United States and other aging societies, including within cultures of health care education and practice. Essays reflect new scholarship and empirical research from health humanities, social gerontology, disability justice, medical anthropology, and critical dementia studies. The essays will also attend to how to apply insights concerning how we perceive and think about dementia to efforts to improve experiences of living with dementia and caring for people with dementia.

The NEH supports collaborative and individual humanities research, preservation of historic collections, humanities exhibitions and documentaries, and educational programs for teachers.