Dan P. McAdams will describe his research on the life stories of highly caring and productive midlife adults who are committed to having a positive impact on the next generation. These highly "generative" adults tend to see their own lives as stories of redemption, wherein the protagonist is repeatedly delivered from suffering to an enhanced status or state. Stories of atonement, upward mobility, liberation and recovery are among the most loved American narratives of redemption, and variations on these ideas often appear in the life stories of highly generative American adults. Redemptive life stories provide an invaluable psychological resource for midlife adults who work hard to make a positive difference in the world. At the same time, these same redemptive stories reprise classic themes from American history and heritage, such as the sometimes-dangerous idea that I have been chosen to live out a personal "manifest destiny."
Professor McAdams is the chairman of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University. He is the author of more than 200 scientific articles and chapters in psychology, and six books. His research and writing focus on the stories that people construct about themselves to provide their lives with meaning and purpose. His 2006 book, The Redemptive Self, won the William James Award from the American Psychological Association for best general-interest book in psychology.
Off Campus Writers' Workshop meets each Thursday, September to May. Outstanding authors, editors, and publishers present each week. Membership entitles you to reduced session fees, manuscript critiques, and additional summer programming. Non-members are welcome, too. The networking before and after each meeting is a added benefit.