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Embodiment, Memory, and the Self in Dementia: Moving Beyond a Paradigm of Loss

Embodiment, Memory, and the Self in Dementia: Moving Beyond a Paradigm of Loss
93 Charles St. W., Isabel Bader Theatre, 3rd Floor, Linda Hutcheon Seminar Rm.
Time: Apr 8th, 3:00 pm End: Apr 8th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women/Gender, Religion, Study of (FAS), Psychology, Psychiatry, Medicine, Faculty of , Linguistics (FAS), Language Studies (UTM), Ethnography, Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Critical Theory, Communications
Lecture by Dr. Pia Kontos, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

The Centre for Memory and Testimony Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University presents

Pia Kontos, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network and Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Embodiment, memory, and the self in dementia: Moving beyond a paradigm of loss

Explicit in much of the literature on Alzheimer’s disease is the assumption that with dementia there is a steady erosion of selfhood with advancing cognitive impairment.
This presumed existential loss can be traced to the positivistic philosophy of Descartes and the associated dominance of cognition. In contrast I articulate a perspective on
embodiment that disentangles selfhood from the cognitive categories upon which it is presumed to depend, and that underscores the ways in which selfhood is produced and
reproduced non-discursively through the body. I will take as my focus select artistic, literary, and empirical accounts of the experience of Alzheimer’s disease. Implications
of embodied selfhood for improving dementia care practices will also be explored.

Dr. Pia Kontos is a Senior Scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-UHN and Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Central to her program of research is the transformation of the culture of dementia care so it is more humanistic and quality enhancing for people living with dementia, family care partners, and health care practitioners. She draws significantly on the arts for their emotive and expressive nature, specifically music, dance, and improvisational play to enrich the lives of people living with dementia. Research-based drama and film are also drawn upon as novel approaches to educational initiatives for family and professional care partners to effect change at both a personal and organizational level. She has presented and published across multiple disciplines.

Recommended Background Reading

  • Kontos, P., Martin, W. (2013). "Embodiment and dementia: Exploring critical narratives of selfhood, surveillance, and dementia care." Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 12(3):288-302.
  • Kontos P. (2006). "Embodied selfhood: An ethnographic exploration of Alzheimer's disease." In: Cohen L, Leibing A, editors. Thinking about dementia: Culture, loss, and the anthropology of senility. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, pp. 195-217.

This event is an interdisciplinary initiative. It is free and open to all professionals, students, academics, and thinkers.. For more information, please contact Liza Futerman, Research Group Leader, Centre for Memory and Testimony Studies and doctoral student of the Centre for Comparative Literature.

Refreshments provided.

Download flyer [pdf]

Event webpage:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1567300466874721/

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