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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Visiting author to discuss dementia, storytelling

Two unlikely topics, dementia and storytelling, will be the focus of a lecture Thursday evening hosted by the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research and the Department of English.

The lecture,  titled “Dementia and Storytelling: An Autobiographical Field Report,” will feature Thomas Cole, who serves as the McGovern Chair in the and Director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Cole’s work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, as well as featured in national publications including the New York Times, and broadcasting companies like National Public Radio and PBS.

“Dr. Cole will use his own experience interviewing contemporary ‘elders,’ including those with dementia, as a springboard to discuss how this kind of work can change how we view storytelling,” said Jessica Howell, assistant professor of English.

While this lecture is open to all students, those wishing to pursue a career in the medical or humanities fields could receive the most from participating in this event, said Howell.

“This lecture addresses storytelling, ethics, healthcare and aging,” Howell said. “Those interested in either healthcare, the Humanities or both, would benefit from seeing how these fields can speak to each other in interesting and sometimes profound ways.”

Tasha Dubriwny, associate professor of Communications, said she hopes students will see the importance of the topic, even though it might not seem to be of much relevance to them right now.

“I suspect that ‘aging’ and ‘dementia’ may not topics that immediately grab our students, but they should be,” Dubriwny said. “Many of our students may have grandparents or event parents who are suffering from dementia. Cole’s talk should offer a unique perspective on how we as a society grapple with dementia, a topic that I think we often avoid out of fear.”

Although the lecture may only be taking place on Thursday, Dubriwny hopes it will start a conversation and interest more students to the field.

“We are hoping that Cole’s visit will spur interest in the Medical Humanities,” Dubriwny said.

“Dementia and Storytelling: An Autobiographical Field Report” will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday in room 453 in the Liberal Arts and Humanities Building. The event is free and open to the public.

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