Category Archives: resources

Announcing the Life Course Collaborative Research Network

AAQ31covercutAAGE, working together with the Anthropology of Aging and the Life Course Interest Group (AALCIG) and the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) of the American Anthropological Association have now established a joint Collaborative Research Network (CRN) for those interested in exploring connections (e.g., physical, political, developmental, symbolic, etc.) between childhood/youth and adulthood/old age.

The group has several potential project in mind (for those of you who like a few outputs to go with your intellectual exchange), including a blog share, a conference, organizing panels for other conferences, sharing teaching resources like syllabi, and developing opportunities for publishing and collaborative research projects.

Our central communication hub for plotting and schemeing will be our CRN_Lifecourse listserv. If you are interested in joining, please visit and complete the registration form.

We are interested in strengthening the intellectual exchange among scholars whose primary research focus has been on one stage of the life course but who are interested in inter-generational relationships, longitudinal studies, autobiographies, life course transitions, and the category of age itself in ways that require broader conceptual frameworks. At the moment, funding, publication, teaching curriculums, and the sections and subgroups of professional groups reinforce and naturalize divisions between scholars interested in the life course. Ages end up like fieldsites, where the anthropologist is encouraged, for example, to specialize on the internal workings of a single village, rather than looking at a the larger area of settlements with which it shares relationships and ecological context. In contrast, the CRN_Lifecourse encourages the development of concepts that problematize terms like ‘stages of life,’ ‘generations,’ and ‘age,’ and encourages the proliferation of specific methods and strategies to help us better conduct life-course research. Finally, we will critically engage with the ways old age and youth are sometimes pitted against each other (e.g., in competition for humanitarian aid or organ transplants), while at other times, they are lumped together (e.g., as unproductive, naive, care-dependent, vulnerable, or sacred). We hope to examine how such connections impact the ways societies evaluate the life course.

If you have questions (especially technical ones best handled off the listserv) contact Jason Danely ( You are also welcome to leave comments or ideas below!

After Critical Gerontology?: Provocation to PAAGE Discussion Piece #1

Consideration of institutions as concretized and semi-permanent systems of knowledge production has by now sunk into the general parlance of anthropology, gerontology, and other social scientific fields of study. The rule of science, naturalizing objects of knowledge into universal fact, has transformed the policy environment in many modern nations. Scientific research, statistical projections, and public opinion polls can be conjured to do one’s bidding alongside some politically savvy punditry. Uncertainty abounds as to the certainty of facticity. But what does this mean for old age? The aged as a conceptual and ontological category of being are particularly susceptible to epistemo-political warfare, sitting on the border of, not only fiscal cliffs, but a number of institutions constantly in flux: healthcare policy, care-institutions, family structure, socio-economic class, demographics, and even biological systems.

Given the shifting grounds on which “old age” rests (aging baby boomers, aging societies, healthcare crisis, LTSS (LTC) insurance debates, identity politics, and the rise of consumer directed service), it is not surprising that a growing number of anthropologists and social gerontologists have turned their attention to the socio-historical and cultural construction of aging as an object of knowledge. Now that we have critical insight into the social production of old age, what’s next? How do we move beyond critical gerontology and the social study of aging? How do we convince those outside of scholarly circles of the critical import of our findings? This “now what” question is one that many disenchanted social scientists struggle with. How can the anthropological insight garnered from critical studies be positively translated into social action, policy change, and public engagement? Can aging studies scholars make value judgments and take a stand? How do we move on after critical anthropology/gerontology?

Ender Ricart

Discussion Piece #2: Right to Die

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Aging and the Life Course at #AAA2015



AAGE and the AAA Interest Group on Aging and the Life Course are gearing up for #AAA2015 in Denver, Colorado, November 18-22!

Jay Sokolovsky has started compiling a 2015 Guide to the Meetings and a Guide to Core Anthropology of Aging and the Life Course Resources (The 2014 Research Guide is at:

Here are the highlights

Key Interest Group Events

Thurs – 12:15-1:30PM Reception and Interlocutor event: “Global Visions of Work in Late Life” 

This event begins with a celebration of recent books and continues with a conversation with authors, Anthropologist, Caitrin Lynch (Retirement on the Line: Age, Work, and Value in an American Factory) and Journalist, Jospeph Coleman, (Unfinished Work: the struggle to build an aging American workforce).

Fri – 8am-9:45AM Invited Session of the Interest Group

Familiar Strangeness of Place and Person: Ethnographic Investigations of “Aging in Place”

Sat – 12:15-1:30PM Joint Business Meeting with AAGE

Networking Dinner – Friday or Saturday night (location/time TBD)



* indicates AAGE members


Thurs 4-5:45PM November 19


Sidney M Greenfield, Philip Singer, Pablo Landa


Friday 8am-9:45AM November 20, Invited Session


Jessica Robbins – Aaron Seaman, organizers

Liminal Homes: Older People, Loss of Capacities, and the Present Future of Living Spaces
*Annette Leibing (University of Montreal)
8:15 AM
Flexible Home: Remaking Person, Family, and Place
*Aaron T Seaman (University of Chicago)
8:30 AM
Place-Making and Refashioning Later Life, Detroit Futures, Rivers of Toxic and Nourishing Heritages
*Mark R Luborsky (Wayne State University, Department of Anthropology)
8:45 AM
The Local Community: What Food Provisioning Can Reveal about Aging and Place
*Erika Carrillo (Wayne State Univ)
9:00 AM
The Spatiotemporality of Aging: Creating Moral Persons and Places in Poland
*Jessica C Robbins-Ruszkowski (Wayne State University)
9:15 AM
*Elana D Buch (University of Iowa)


Friday, November 20, 2015 Capital Ballroom 3 (Hyatt Regency): 10:15 AM-12:00 PM


Chair: Margaret Souza

10:15 AM
Chronic Illness Management in the Digital Age: Electronic Medical Records and Clinician Autonomy
Linda M Hunt (Michigan State University) and Allison Baker (Michigan State University)
10:30 AM
Digitizing Cancer Survivorship Care
Tara Eaton (Independent Research Consultant)
10:45 AM
“Sites” of Stigma and Contestation: Positivesingles.Com and on- and Off-Line Dating with STDs
Zakea Boeger (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
11:00 AM
Death Cafes: A New Look at Dying
Margaret Souza (SUNY/Empire State College)
11:15 AM
Technologies of Data Collection: International Classification of Disease As Discourse
Laurette A McGuire (California State University San Marcos)
11:30 AM
The Optimizing Self
Dorthe Brogaard Kristensen (University of Southern Denmark) and Matthias Bode (University of Southern Denmark)

Friday 12:15-1:30PM


Margaret Souza and Cathleen E Willging


Friday, November 20, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:30 PM


Organizers: Anna I. Corwin; Felicity Aulino; and Anna I. Corwin

1:45 PM
Form, Authenticity, and (Non-)Disclosure: An Everyday Buddhist Ethics of Care
*Felicity Aulino (UMass Amherst)
2:00 PM
Decoding the Divine: Being God in a Catholic Convent Infirmary
*Anna I. Corwin (Stanford University)
2:15 PM
Care and the Other in Bosnian Mixed-Ethnicity Families
Keziah Conrad (University of California, Los Angeles – Department of Anthropology)
2:30 PM
Dehumanizing Care
*Ender Ricart (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
2:45 PM
Care in the Anti-Crisis
Stacey A Langwick (Cornell University)
3:00 PM
Katherine A Mason (Brown University)
3:15 PM

Saturday, November 21, 2015: 8:00AM-9:45AM

Organizer:  Cati M Coe Chair:  Erdmute Alber

Migration and New Ways of Aging in Sri Lanka
Michele R Gamburd (Portland State University, Department of Anthropology)
8:15 AM
Left behind and Alone? Elderly Care in Rural Circumstances of Western African Hinterland Villages
Erdmute Alber (University of Bayreuth) and Tabea Häberlein (University of Bayreuth)
8:30 AM
Openness to New Aging Trajectories: Interest in Old Age Homes and Senior Day Programs in Southern Ghana
Cati M Coe (Rutgers University)
8:45 AM
Care of the Elderly, Migration, Community: Explorations from Rural Romania
Tatjana Thelen (University of Vienna)
9:00 AM
*Sarah Lamb (Brandeis University, Department of Anthropology)

Saturday, November 21, 2015:10:15AM-12PM


Transnationalized Aging Trajectories: Home Care As Piecework in the Andes
Jessaca B Leinaweaver (Brown University – Department of Anthropology)
10:30 AM
Sité on a Hill: Aging and Class in a Retirement Home in Turkey
Deborah L Durham (Sweet Briar College)
10:45 AM
The Translocality of ‘Healthy Aging’: Exploring the Situated Effects of Health Promotion to Ethnic Minorities in Denmark
Nanna Hilm (University of Copenhagen)
11:00 AM
DIY Aging: Retirement Migration and Intentional Communities
Liesl L Gambold (Dalhousie University)
11:15 AM
*Judith Freidenberg


If you have any related aging and life course related panels and sessions information or anything else that you would like included in the guide, contact Jay Sokolovsky at

We will continue to deliver updates as they become available

See you in Denver!

Click here for more on AAGE at conferences

Click here to go to AAGE at #GSA2015

Click here to go to AAGE at #AAA2014



New Title: Aging and the Digital Life Course, Pendergast and Garattini, eds.

PrendergastAgingThe third volume, in the Berghahn series, Life Course, Culture & Aging: Global Transformations, edited by Jay Sokolovsky is now available.

AGING AND THE DIGITAL LIFE COURSE EDITED BY DAVID PRENDERGAST AND CHIARA GARATTINI examines how developments in smart phones, the internet, cloud computing, and online social networking are redefining experiences and expectations around growing older in the twenty-first century.

FOR TEACHING FACULTY: Although books come out in hardcover, special course order pricing is available from Univeristy bookstores, contact: Molly Mosher at:

Manuscript ideas/manuscripts for this series can be submitted to the editor, Jay Sokolovsky (
Previous volumes include:
Volume 1: TRANSITIONS AND TRANSFORMATIONS: Cultural Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course, Edited by Caitrin Lynch & Jason Danely, 2013, NOW IN PAPERBACK
We encourage you to take advantage of a limited time 50% off discount offer available with the use of this secure online flyer HERE

Anthropology & Aging Vol.36 no.1


link to the issue

The June 2015 issue of Anthropology & Aging features the latest commentaries, articles, and reviews, available free now through our open-access agreement. In addition to our usual content, this issue includes a commentary/response format first introduced in the special issue on the body (33.3) and reintroduced in this issue by Maruta Vitols and Caitrin Lynch’s piece on representations of aging in films and a reflective response by A&A co-editor Philip Kao. Stephanie May de Montigny’s Portfolio continues this discussion of performance, narrative, and creativity on the stage. We hope these contributions spark more interest and interaction here on our blog as well as in cafes and classrooms everywhere!

Every issue of Anthropology & Aging that we produce depends on the skills and time volunteered by our editorial staff, our board, peer reviewers, and digital publishing support. This issue is especially exciting because also it showcases the work happening across the Association of Anthropology and Gerontology—from supporting student work with the Margaret Clark Award, to the international conference held last February.

Anthropology & Aging 36(1) begins with an commentary adapted from the keynote address delivered by past International President of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders  (MSF), Dr. Unni Karunakara at the 2015 AAGE Conference on “Health Disparities in Aging” hosted by Florida International University. Dr. Karunakara writes from the front lines of global public health and humanitarian response, and his evaluation of the recognition (or lack thereof) of the important roles of older people in high risk, post-disaster circumstances reveals the need to rethink how aid organizations are held accountable for including older adults as a priority in their work.

In addition to Dr. Karunakara’s Keynote, the AAGE conference also provided a chance for our organization to support student research and professionalization. One of our banner activities in this regard has been the awarding of the Margaret Clark award for student papers. In 2014 AAGE awarded two Margaret Clark Awards, one at the graduate level (Ben Kasstan, Durham University), and another at the undergraduate level (Lilly Lerer, University of Chicago). The awardees both revised their papers into articles and braved the peer-review process to be accepted for publication in A&A. Ben Kasstan’s article focuses on the voices and experiences of Shoah survivors at a UK day center mediate their experiences of past trauma by incorporating elements of Judaism, literally through food and memory. Lilly Lerer’s article is a sensitive and intimate account of her fieldwork with hospice patients and staff as they mutually embody a temporality of ‘slow care’ that contrasts with the efficient and cure-centered care of the biomedical end of life settings.

Care is a theme running throughout this issue, and, as the authors note, throughout current discussions of doing anthropology in the Anthropocene. Two additional articles in this issue take up the theme of care for older adults. Iza Kavedžija’s ethnographically rich depiction of community care in urban Japan looks at the co-productions of categories of ‘elderly’ and ‘carer’ as individuals move through various care settings, employing symbolic and linguistic cues that mark roles and relationships along a spectrum of social potentialities. Fetterolf, a student member of AAGE, examines healing in Alzheimer’s care in the US, adopting a case study approach, proposing that close attention to personhood creates ‘bridges’ to providing better care.

Enjoy this issue and we look forward to bringing you our next special issue on “Aging the Technoscape” in the Fall. CFP is still open until June 30 for this issue, and general submissions on other topics are always welcome!

Anthropology & Aging Books to Review!

Aging in America (County and City Extra Series) by Robert L. Scardamalia ·  Series: County and City Extra Series

·  Hardcover: 446 pages ·  Publisher: Bernan Press (June 17, 2014)·  Language: English ·  ISBN-10: 1598887025·  ISBN-13: 978-1598887020

Protecting Seniors Against Environmental Disasters: From Hazards and Vulnerability to Prevention and Resilience…by Michael R Greenberg ·  Series: Earthscan Risk in Society ·  Hardcover: 228 pages ·  Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 21, 2014)·  Language: English ·  ISBN-10: 0415842018  ISBN-13: 978-0415842013
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Aging: The Role of Gerontological Social Workby Noell L Rowan and Nancy L Giunta ·  Hardcover: 352 pages  Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (February 4, 2015)  Language: English ·  ISBN-10: 1138842087 ·  ISBN-13: 978-1138842083
Aging in Canada  by Neena L. Chappell and Marcus J. Hollander 20 September 2013 ISBN 9780195447668
Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce by Joseph Coleman  Feb 2, 2015 ·  ISBN-10: 0199974454 ·  ISBN-13: 978-0199974450
New Directions in the Sociology of Aging by Social Epidemiology, and the Sociology of Aging Panel on New Directions in Social Demography, Committee on Population, Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education and National Research Council (Jan 9, 2014) Publication Date: January 9, 2014 | ISBN-10: 0309292972 | ISBN-13: 978-0309292979
Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives by James P. Smith, Malay Majmundar, Panel on Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenge of Aging in Asia and Committee on Population (Apr 2, 2013)
Aging Femininities: Troubling Representations by Josephine Dolan and Estella Tincknell (Jun 1, 2012) Publication Date: June 1, 2012 | ISBN-10: 1443838837 | ISBN-13: 978-1443838832
Aging, Culture and Society: A Sociological Approach (Social Perspectives in the 21st Century) by Jason L., Ph.D. Powell (Aug 6, 2013) ·  ISBN-10: 1628089601·  ISBN-13: 978-1628089608
Global Aging, China and Urbanization (Social Perspectives in the 21st Century) by Jason L. Powell (Sep 7, 2013) ISBN-13: 978-1628084528 ISBN-10: 1628084529
Caring Across Generations: The Linked Lives of Korean American Families by Grace J. Yoo and Barbara W. Kim (Jun 20, 2014)
Physical Change and Aging, Sixth Edition: A Guide for the Helping Professions by Sue V. Saxon PhD, Mary Jean Etten EdD GNP FT and Dr. Elizabeth A. Perkins PhD RNMH (Sep 26, 2014) Publication Date: September 26, 2014 | ISBN-10: 0826198643 | ISBN-13: 978-0826198648 | Edition: 6
Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Volume 34, 2014 ISBN: 01988794
Sexuality and Dementia: Compassionate and Practical Strategies for Dealing with Unexpected or Inappropriate Behaviors…Douglas Wornell MD (December 13, 2013) ·  ISBN-10: 1936303558·  ISBN-13: 978-1936303557 Edition: 1
Youdin, Robert. Clinical Gerontological Social Work Practice. Springer Pub Co. 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0826129895 pp. 288 $64.02
The Inner Life of the Dying Person (End-of-Life Care: A Series) by Allan Kellehear (Jun 3, 2014)
Growing Old in Cameroon: Gender, Vulnerability, and Social Capital by Charles Che Fonchingong (Dec 11, 2013) Publication Date: December 11, 2013 | ISBN-10: 0761861254 | ISBN-13: 978-0761861256
Exploring the Lives of Aging Lesbians on Lake Superior’s North Shore: An ethnographic study uniting the demographics… by Angela C. Nichols (Nov 7, 2013)

If you are interested in reviewing these titles, contact
Joann Kovacich, Anthropology and Aging Book Reviews Editor
School of Advanced Studies
Online Faculty, University of Phoenix

Where to study anthropology and aging?

While there are hundreds of notable programs around the world that provide opportunities to focus on social gerontology or aging studies more broadly, it can be difficult to discern which are good places for the social scientist who is drawn to anthropology. One reason, has to do with the interdisciplinary nature of aging studies, with significant numbers of students spread over nursing, social work, public policy, sociology, psychology, and other home departments. Many Universities have research ‘Centers’ or ‘Institutes’ on aging, which try to bring faculty from different departments together, including, on occasion, the arts and humanities, but how cohesive and successful are they? For students looking into programs of study (undergraduate or post-graduate), this can be difficult to judge.

There are, unfortunately, still very few anthropology departments that could really boast of having a strong research focus on aging and the life course, and even fewer that offer more than one specialized course in this area. However, there are a number of high-quality programs that have a record in supporting work that is anthropological, ethnographic, and focused on problems related to culture and society more broadly.

I polled some of our AAGE members and here is what we came up with (so far) as our top picks for academic institutions for studying anthropology and aging. Most have at one or more anthropologist who does research on aging in the faculty, but some, like University of Iowa, Wayne State, and UMBC have several.

If we missed your top pick, please leave a note in the comments section!

The Americas
Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster University (Social Sciences)
Cornell Aging and Health (Human Ecology)
Miami Unversity, Oxford, Scripps Gerontology Center
Portland State School of Community Health Institute on Aging
Sonoma State University, Gerontology Program
Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute
UMBC Gerontology Social and Behavioral Concentration  and Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Connecticut Health Center Center on Aging
University of Iowa Aging Studies and Anthropology
University of Michigan Social Work and Social Science joint PhD program
UC San Francisco Institute of Health and Aging
Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology

In Mexico there are the National Institutes for Geriatrics, they have a small qualitative research department.

Institute of Gerontology, University of Tokyo
Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
National University of Singapore Virtual Institute for the Study of Ageing
Institute for Sociology and Anthropology of Peking University (both teaching and research in aging and gerontological social work)

Europe & UK

Copenhagen Center for Healthy Aging (Denmark)
Leyden Academy Vitality and Aging (Netherlands)
Max Plank Institute of Lifespan Psychology
Max Plank Institute of Research Network on Aging

Institute for Ageing and Health, at Newcastle University
The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
Brunel Institute of Ageing Studies
Kings College London Ageing & Society


Note: There are many more non-affiliated or consortium type multi-affiliation centers and research institutes, but I will save that for another page. Though not focused on anthropology specifically, useful lists of schools and institutions with reputable programs in aging studies can be found at Jenage. Other useful links for those interested in a career in gerontology can be found at the AGHE website.

Again, if you would like to see a program listed, please leave a comment and include a URL if possible.