Cindy is the Eli and Edythe Broad Professor of American literature at the California Institute of Technology, and her expertise is in the nineteenth century. She has written three monographs and edited four volumes. Additionally, she teaches courses in women’s fiction, Black literature, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe. She has served in several administrative positions during her academic career.
Her undergraduate advisor, Michael Gilmore
Words of Strength
Writing humorously, passionately, and well
To reduce the scale and impact of dementia, we need to develop a caregiving system that treats people with dementia with kindness and respect and supports the people who love them.
Cindy has written Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021) with Bruce Miller that both illustrates the emotional challenges of loving someone with dementia and provides caregivers with an explanation of the neurological complexities of dementia.
Cindy studied neurology and the genre of memoir in order to write a book with Bruce Miller. Writing the book was not only the primary achievement of her fellowship year, but of her life.
One facet of dementia treatment discussed in her book with Bruce Miller is how “agitation” triggers pharmacological interventions, which often lead to further agitation in a relentless cycle. The US medical establishment needs to think more deeply about alternative approaches.