CFP: “Dementia and Subjectivity”

Dementia and Subjectivity.
Aesthetic, Literary and Philosophical Perspectives.

International and interdisciplinary conference at the University of Paderborn, Germany, 12th-14th November 2015.

Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in insights into the perspectives of patients affected by dementia, in their consciousness as well as in their needs and wants. In this context the plea for an ethics of dementia is also emerging. The current discourse is chiefly governed by socio-ethical questions of medical gerontology and caregiving, its normative standards as well as its consequences for patients, their relatives and caregivers. Moreover, there is a multitude of literary or cinematic representations of dementia, which address the subjective nature of experiencing the disease, for example in (autobiographical) novels and narratives by John Bayley, Alice Munro, Ian McEwan, Arno Geiger, Martin Suter, Peter Stamm, Judith Kuckart, Ulrike Draesner and others. Beyond socio-ethical discourses, philosophers seek analytical approaches towards dementia, which are most of all evident in Anglophone research, yet also increasingly flourish in Germany. They consider issues concerning the patients’ personal identity, contemplate opportunities and restraints with regard to advance directives and the patients’ autonomy, as much as they question the legitimacy of paternalistic decisions.

Papers may address topics including, but not limited to:
•        Dementia and person
•        Dementia, identity and autonomy
•        Language, aphasia and literary modes of representing dementia
•        Media-specific modes of representing dementia
•        Dementia and narrativity
•        Memory and forgetting
•        Subjective experiences of patients, relatives and caregivers
•        Intergenerational conflicts and emotions
•        Respect towards patients and caregivers
•        Spatial aspects and subjective perceptions of nursing homes

The official conference languages are English and German. Please send abstracts of 300-400 words for 20-30 minute presentations, along with a brief bio-note, in a Word document or PDF file to the three conference organisers by 10th March 2015.

Dr Daniela Ringkamp (Philosophy), daniela.ringkamp[at]
Dr Sara Strauß (English Studies), sara.strauss[at]
Leonie Süwolto, MA (Comparative Literature), schultel[at]

Please note that the organisers are applying for external funding of conference and travel expenses but cannot guarantee that this will be granted.

For more information, please visit the conference website: