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Renée Lynn Beard


Sociology and Anthropology

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California San Francisco

Fields: medical sociology, social gerontology, illness narratives, Alzheimer's, social movements

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Office Phone: 508-793-3054
Office: 90A
PO Box: Sociology and Anthropology
Office Hours


Renée L. Beard, Ph.D., received her degree in medical sociology from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.  Her disseration, Managing Memory: clinical facts, biomedical negotiations, and Alzheimer's identities, was a sociocultural and historical analysis of treating, serving, and experiencing memory loss in clinical practice, advocacy arenas, and everyday life.  She completed a NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Gerontological Public Health at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago.  Her substantive areas are medical sociology and aging, including the senior rights movement, the bioethics of aging, lay and expert knowledges, doctor-patient interactions, and subjective experiences of illness and aging.  Her senior seminar, Illness Narratives, examines the psychosocial impact of various ailments through first-person accounts.  She also teaches medical sociology, families and societies, aging and society, and research methods.  Several of her publications include:


  • Beard, R.L. & Williamson, J.B. (2011). Symbolic politics, social policy, and the Senior Rights Movement, Journal of Aging Studies. 25(1): 22-33.
  • Beard, R.L., Knauss, J. & Moyer, D. (2009). How we manage our disability and enjoy life: Reframing dementia through narratives with those who live with it, Journal of Aging Studies. 23: 227-235.

  • Beard, R.L., Fetterman, D.J., Wu, B., & Bryant, L.L. (2009). The two voices of Alzheimer’s: Attitudes toward brain health by diagnosed individuals and support persons, The Gerontologist. 49(S1): S40-S49.