Category Archives: News

Member News, Summer 2017

As of January 2017, Iveris Martinez began serving on the Board Chair for the Alliance for Aging, Inc., the area agency for aging for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in Florida. The agency provides a wide range of services, valued in excess of $35 million, to older people through a network of local agencies. Some of the services provided include congregate and home-delivered meals, adult day care, personal care, legal help and transportation. Through its service network, the Alliance also provides support, training, education, counseling and respite for caregivers, including grandparents raising grandchildren. In the past year, over 77,000 people received services through this network.

Iveris also was recently invited to speak and presented at the semi-annual meeting  of the Committee on Population of the National Academy of Sciences on “Aging and the Family among Latinos in the United States.”  The meeting was held on June 15, 2017, at the Keck Center in Washington, DC. In light of high disability rates for older Latino immigrants and the relative absence of data for understanding the caregiving needs faced by immigrant families, she noted the need for theoretical models and more studies, especially qualitative studies, to better understand the dynamics of familial and social support for Latino older adults.

***

Aaron SeamanAaron Seaman began a two-year postdoc at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine as a researcher in the Department of Internal Medicine in August 2016. Working there with clinical and anthropology mentors, Aaron has been able to draw his interests in aging, kinship, and caregiving into new contexts, including examining how people and their families make decisions and pursue care in the contexts of cancer survivorship and palliative care. Along with research in the University hospital, he also works at the Iowa City VA with a group of qualitative researchers that includes AAGE member Samantha Solimeo. Aaron also was elected to the AAGE board as secretary in early 2017, and he looks forward to contributing to the continued development of AAGE in the coming years.

***

Members also have had several publications appear thus far in 2017.

Transnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work, edited by AAGE members Parin Dossa and Cati Coe, has been published by Rutgers University Press. As the RUP website states, the volume “documents the social and material contributions of older persons to their families in settings shaped by migration, their everyday lives in domestic and community spaces, and in the context of intergenerational relationships and diasporas.”

Successful Aging as Contemporary Obsession: Global PerspectivesSuccessful Aging as a Contemporary Obsession: Global Perspectives, edited by Sarah Lamb, has been published by Rutgers University Press. Along with Lamb’s contributions as editor, the volume includes an introduction co-authored by Anna Corwin, Lamb, and Jessica Robbins-Ruskowski, as well as chapter contributions by AAGE members Elana Buch, Corwin, Jason Danely, Lamb, Annette Leibing, Robbins-Ruskowski, Janelle Taylor, and Emily Wentzell.

Along with their contributions to the volume on successful aging, Anna Corwin, Annette Leibing, Janelle Taylor, and Emily Wentzell had other work in various publications.

Anna Corwin’s article, “Overcoming Elderspeak: A Qualitative Study of Three Alternatives,” was published online this spring in The Gerontologist. Following a story by Reuters, the work has received numerous mentions in popular and news media, including the CBC, AARP News, HuffPost (formerly the Huffington Post), and the Daily Mail. It’s exciting to see AAGE members’ work making waves both in and beyond the academy.

Annette Leibing published an editorial on the emplacedness of end-of-life care in Brazil, “Hospitals: the place where most elderly people die in Brazil — the start of a debate,” in Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Aging, the journal of the Brazilian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Janelle Taylor had an article appear in the June 2017 issue of Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, a special issue entitled “Moral (and Other) Laboratories” and edited by edited by Lone Grøn and Teresa Kuan. The article, “Engaging with Dementia: Moral Experiments in Art and Friendship,” comes out of her work on informal non-kin relations in dementia and dementia care.

Emily Wentzell’s article, “Medical Research Participation as ‘Ethical Intercorporeality’: Caring for Bio-social Bodies in a Mexican Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Study,” appeared in the March 2017 issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

Samantha Solimeo and colleagues also had an article appear in the same issue of MAQ: “Gatekeepers as Care Providers: The Care Work of Patient-centered Medical Home Clerical Staff.”

A hearty congratulations, everyone!

And we know that this doesn’t begin to capture all the great work that AAGE members are doing. So, please share your news with us: new projects, publications, positions, progress, possibilities…We are interested in hearing about all of it and sharing it with all our members! Email us anytime at aarontodd11 {at} gmail {dot} com. Cheers!

Contesting categories of age and youth at #AAGE2017

lunch was buzzing at the AAGE conference (Photo by Ebru Ozer)

The Association for Anthropology, Gerontology and the Life Course held its Biennial Conference meeting at Oxford Brookes University, in Oxford, United Kingdom this past June 8th and 9th. C The theme, “Culture, Commitment, and Care across the Life Course,” provided an opportunity to expand our perspective of the anthropology of aging by taking a comparative perspective on youth and seeking to explore the continuities between early childhood and the life-long process of aging. With a program packed with thought-provoking and relevant information, it was hard to choose what sessions to attend! Continue reading

AAGE at #SfAA2017

Past-president of AAGE Iveris Martinez spoke about her experience teaching in a medical school

AAGE was well represented at the Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, held this year in Santa Fe, NM.

One of the highlights was the AAGE networking breakfast, which provided an intimate social setting to discuss professional issues such as teaching and publishing.

Thanks to Sherri Briller and Jay Sokolovsky for organizing this event and all of the attendees for making it a success!

all photographs taken by Jay Sokolovsky. Do not copy or reuse without permission Continue reading

What commitments and cares connect generations? #AAGE2017

The 10th Biennial AAGE Conference, “Culture, Commitment and Care across the Life Course” brought together over 100 participants from 15 different countries for two days of research presentations, workshops, and keynote lectures. We opened on June 8th, as UK citizens were voting in a snap election that would proclaim their commitment to education, social care, housing security and tolerance. Whereas the Brexit vote one year earlier seemed to push generations and their values further apart, the results of the snap election showed a broader support for the Labour Party across age groups, and perhaps a rejection of the kind of misguided policies that would take school lunches from children and issue a #dementiatax on the old.

So there couldn’t be a better time to talk about the ways our commitments to values and aspirations are linked to our experience of generation and the life course.

For the first ever AAGE conference to be held in Europe, this enthusiastic turnout exceeded my expectations, and I was thrilled to meet so many students and scholars for the first time. I was so impressed, in fact, that I quickly put together a proposal to establish a new research network of the European Association of Social Anthropology so that we could continue to stay in touch and hold conferences even when AAGE’s Biennial moves back across the pond.

One of the keys to the success was our partnership with ACYIG, represented by my unflappable co-organizer Patrick Alexander. ACYIG has been a fantastic supporter of AAGE through the Collaborative Research Network on the Life Course. Through the CRN, we’ve organized a blog exchange and organized panels for #AAA2017 focused on how age is situated within the life course. One of the classic anthropological works on culture and the life course is Mead’s ‘Culture and Commitment’, and when Mead’s daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson agreed to fly over as a keynote speaker, it felt like we really had a conference worth shouting about.

And you heard. While I can’t possibly summarize all 16 panels (73 papers!) presented, as you can imagine, there were several on inter-generational relationships, kinship and community and many more on the ways global and local politics of care bring youth and age into closer affinity. The life-course perspective meant grappling with the ways personal and historical change intersect, how mobility, precarity and hopes might be shaped by generational patterns as well as changes in life-course trajectories. Alone, telling such a complex story would be formidable, but together, I could see how each of the conference presenters contributed some unique piece of the puzzle.

Apart from the papers, the conference included a workshop on ageing in Sub-Saharan Africa by Jaco Hoffman of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and another on research on children and development by Young Lives. These workshops were mainly aimed at presenting outward facing research aimed at contributing to public policy. Nearly half of the presenters at the conference were PhD students or recent graduates, and these workshops helped them consider the ways our research can have impact and the kinds of opportunities that are available outside of academia.

AAGE President Jason Danely introducing Mary Catherine Bateson on Day 1

Finally, we were treated to two wonderful keynote presentations, both of which drew out the fundamental importance of inter-generational life-course interactions. Mary Catherine Bateson spoke of the importance of learning from each other and the joys of being depending on each other at every age. She spoke of how infants and children teach adults how to be better carers, and how older adults can offer perspectives to the young. Pia Christensen told stories of ‘wonder’ that arise when we listen and pay attention to the worlds of children. I felt that much of what she said could easily be applied to our thinking about old age as well, and how aging societies might provide new chances for reflecting on the values and commitments that are most important to our shared future.

ACYIG Board Member Patrick Alexander introduces Pia Christensen on Day 2

What’s next?

Over the last 20 years, anthropology of aging and of youth has produced an impressive body of research that recognizes the agency and influence that people of all ages have on culture and society. As ethnographers who strive to bring a more holistic perspective of human relationships to our work, it seems that the next step is to try to understand the life course inter-generational interactions. What kinds of care are given or received across the life course? Are there commitments that cross generations? What do different ages bring to our understanding of the role of commitment in social and political change?

These are questions that can’t easily be solved by looking at only a narrow slice of the life course or one demographic group within a multi-generational society. The connections made at AAGE 2017 between the themes and ideas of presenters doing work at different ends of the life course presented an exciting challenge, both intellectually and empirically, and I hope AAGE and ACYIG will continue to work together in the future to strengthen our common interest in the life course. With the establishment of a formal network within the European Association of Social Anthropology (coming soon!) and organized panels ready for AAA 2017, we hope to keep up the momentum started in Oxford.

Thank you again to everyone who made the conference a success and to all of the presenters and chairs. I encourage all of you stay in contact with people you met at AAGE2017 and stay tuned for AAGE2019!

Where were the anthropologists? Report on the 9th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology

One of the most surprising moments of the 9th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology (also the first ENAS/NANAS Joint Conference and the 3rd ENAS Conference) was when Plenary Panelist Stephen Katz asked the audience members to hold up a hand if they had a degree in ‘Gerontology’. I twisted in my seat to get a better look across the crowd but I only saw about a half-dozen hesitant arms poking out of the full lecture hall. The point Katz was making was that ‘cultural gerontology’ remains an assemblage of different discipline-based concepts and methodologies. Even after all these years, the infrastructure hasn’t emerged that could establish the key concerns, questions and concepts that social science and humanities scholars call ‘gerontology’. Continue reading

New Publications Spotlight: Translating anthropology to medical practice

For a list of all new publications from the first quarter of 2017, click here

At the closure of this new quarter we have tried to trace the articles published by members and non-members again. The sheer number of articles identified alone already testify to the relevance of our topic of interest. In this post about the last quarter, I again highlight two articles that discuss related topics. The first is an article published by, among others, fellow AAGE member Lynette Leidy Seivert about the experience of hot flashes among Mayan and non-Mayan women in Campeche state, Mexico (Huicochea-Gómez et al. 2017). The second concerns an article published by Kaitrin M. Jacklin and co-authors (Jacklin et al. 2016) about the experiences of indigenous people with Diabetes type II with Canadian health care. Continue reading

AAGE at SfAA 2017

The 2017 Society for Applied Anthropology meetings are fast approaching (March 28- April 1), and, as always, AAGE members will not only be presenting work, but hosting a networking breakfast event for members, students, and anyone interested in learning more about us.

Thank you to Iveris Martinez for compiling this list of relevant sessions at this year’s conference. Continue reading

Thinking back to #AAA2016, and forward to #AAA2017!

If you weren’t lucky enough to be at #AAA2016 “Evidence, Accident, Discovery,” you may have missed not only one of the coldest AAA meetings on record (seriously, we had a blizzard), but in many ways one of the more surreal, as a new President had been elected only a week earlier, with huge looming implications for many of the people we work with. Now, the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association is a massive event and stimulation overload to begin with, but 2016 had the added element of thousands of mourners all at different stages in the grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression). For me, I couldn’t be more grateful that to be in a convention center with like-minded people who care about things like climate change and indigenous rights, care of immigrants and refugees, justice for victims of violence, dignity for the disabled and for women and for older people. I was hardly alone in feeling proud to be part of an organization that so quickly responded to the new political climate where our discipline, as one that has long defended tolerance and empathy, is directly under threat. Not only did the executive board swiftly issue official statements, and dedicate an issue of Anthropology News to work on anthropologist activism, but many sections like the Society for Psychological Anthropology have started their own advocacy networks to organize and affect policy issues.
Next year, AAA will rumble up to the seat of power, Washington DC, and we’ll see what a year of organizing can produce (I’m guessing more than just some nice powerpoint slides).

Continue reading

Recent publications in review

In the last quarter of 2016, we have identified about 60 articles published at the crossroads of anthropology and gerontology. AAGE members published no less than a quarter of those articles, attesting to the prolific activity in this group. This periodical update of recent publications will be a regular feature of AAGE, and each update will be supplemented by a brief commentary that elaborates on a couple of the member contributions.

While all of these contributions deserve a read for those of us interested in the state of the field, for this post I want to highlight just two articles, both of which discuss the role of social engagement and how it relates to successful aging.

linguistic strategies in intergenerational communication can enhance well-being

Continue reading

Happy New Year from AAGE! Five resolutions for 2017

For many of us (including me) the new year means time to pay AAGE dues. That means a little reflection on what AAGE was worth to me last year, and what I can contribute to it (aside from dues) in the coming year. (If you want to renew now, click here!)

Let’s start with the changes. AAGE website users will notice that we have made some changes to our look. In order to improve the security features of the site, we have adopted a simplified design, but we are not stopping here. We are about to embark on a much larger redesign that will make the site the hub of our activities between workshops and conferences. Look forward to future improvements to member-only section, including information on jobs, grants, and teaching (syllabi, activities, other resources) most relevant to our members.

Unless you are a website designer, you may feel like you’d rather contribute to AAGE in a different way. You might submit your article to our journal, or conference, you might consider writing a post (or series of posts) for our evolving site.

If you are a member, and you need a New Year’s resolution (or five), here are some ideas for how to contribute to AAGE in 2017: Continue reading