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Drake Colloquium Series kicks off with lecture on living with grief

On Feb. 21, Nancy Berns, professor of sociology at Drake University, will help launch the Drake Humanities Center’s Spring 2014 Colloquium Series with the lecture, “Living with Grief and Joy: What We Think Matters.” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Medbury Honors Lounge, 2730 Forest Ave.

Berns’ lecture will address the challenges one faces when a loved one dies. How do people learn to move forward in their lives after loss? Berns’ says there is no magic formula for how to live with grief. However, she suggests that one important factor to consider is how we think about our experiences. With the knowledge gained from in-depth interviews, Berns’ research shows how emotions are complex and not just negative or positive. Her lecture will cover a variety of topics, including how people make sense of loss, and how these constructions impact one’s identity and emotions.

Nancy attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she received her Ph.D. in sociology in 1999. At Drake University, Berns teaches classes on grief, death, emotions, violence, and justice. She is the author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us (2011, Temple University Press) and Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media and Social Problems (2004, Aldine de Gruyter).

With a passion for raising public awareness about grief and joy, Berns writes a blog for Psychology Today and an occasional column for the Des Moines Register. She speaks to community groups, including counselors, pastors, bereavement support groups, and hospice staff. Her work attracts national and international audiences through her TEDx talk (Beyond Closure: the space between joy and grief) and through interviews such as those with The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The Epoch Times, Huffington Post Live, U.S. News & World Report, and on radio shows including programs in Iowa, Wisconsin, New York, Philadelphia, and Canada. Berns is currently writing a book on how people live with grief and joy after loss.

For more information, contact Nancy Berns at nancy.berns@drake.edu or 515-271-2157.