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Episode 12 Friendship Beyond Dementia – the Anthropology of Aging with Dr. Janelle Taylor

Anthropologist on the Street
Anthropologist on the Street
Episode 12 Friendship Beyond Dementia - the Anthropology of Aging with Dr. Janelle Taylor

Dr. Janelle Taylor (Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor)

Dementia changes not only memory but identity and social roles, as well. As the fabric of who we are changes shape, our culturally-inscribed ideas about aging, personhood, and health can influence whether we experience aging as crisis or whether we develop new aspects of ourselves.

Medical Anthropologist Dr. Janelle Taylor, a professor of anthropology at University of Washington, explores aging as a cultural phenomenon, made easier or harder depending on our expectations of friends and families and our beliefs about what makes us a person. In particular, Dr. Taylor researches how successful friendships adapt in the face of dementia and why those relationships are crucial to patients and their family caregivers.

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For more information on Dr. Janelle Taylor:

Dr. Taylor’s professional webpage: https://anthropology.washington.edu/people/janelle-s-taylor

Dr. Taylor’s Academia.edu webpage: https://washington.academia.edu/JanelleTaylor

More information on the material discussed in this episode:

Mother and daughter holding hands (Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor)

An Interview with Dr. Taylor on her research: http://www.washington.edu/news/2017/07/03/q-a-janelle-taylor-on-exemplary-friends-of-people-with-dementia/


Article by Dr. Taylor, “Engaging with Dementia”: http://rdcu.be/tFtH

Recommended book about palliative care and aging: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Hilde Lindemann’s philosophy book about the moral practice of “initiating human beings into personhood and then holding them there”: Holding and Letting Go: The Social Practice of Personal Identities

Cheryl Mattingly is a Professor of Anthropology who studies issues faced by families of children with severe chronic illness, such as how to maintain health and meaning and how everyday life becomes a site of dealing with serious moral issues: http://dornsife.usc.edu/cherylmattingly/

Dr. Mattingly’s recent book: The Paradox of Hope: Journeys through a Clinical Borderland

Gerontologist and Professor of Theater Anne Basting who won a MacArthur award to support her work in applied arts in long-term care, aging, and dementia: http://anne-basting.com/welcome/

An article referencing Shellee Colen’s term “stratified reproduction” to explain the way caregiving gets shifted to poorer and more marginalized women: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2017/05/31/teaching-stratified-reproduction-in-practice/

Organizations and other resources about the Anthropology of Aging:

AAGE Association for Anthropology, Aging, Gerontology and the Life Course: https://anthropologyandgerontology.com/

Anthropology and Aging (Official Journal of AAGE): https://anthro-age.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/anthro-age



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