Tag Archives: successful aging

AAGE guide to the meetings: American Anthropological Association, Dec 3-7, 2014

Every five years or so, the AAA meetings fall a little later in the year, making us wish the meetings were some place warm (remember New Orleans 2010?) rather than a city with an average December HIGH of about 47F degrees (remember Philadelphia 2009?).

Nonetheless, it is sure to be a good turnout this year, with hundreds of sessions, posters, exhibitors, installations (including the always thought provoking Ethnographic Terminalia), and a keynote speech by Bruno Latour.

If you are a member of AAGE or the AAA on Anthropology of Aging and the Life Course Interest Group , the first things to put on your itinerary are the Interlocutor Session, the Interest Group business meeting, and the dinner.

Dec 5 (Friday) 1:00-2:15PM, Wilson A Marriot Wardman Park

Interlocutor event with Mary Catherine Bateson about “Adulthood 2.0” and reception for recent book authors (Bianca Brijnath, Jason Danely and others). While an accomplished writer and educator, Mary Catherine Bateson is perhaps best known for her work on aging, including Composing a Life (1989) and Composing a Further Life (2010). In the latter, Bateson (who turns 75 on December 8 of this year), takes up the challenge of adapting the psychosocial life course development theories to current realities of longevity and diverse trajectories, proposing a new stage in life that she calls “Adulthood 2.0.”

Jay Sokolovsky organized the event and he and Athena McLean will be asking her about this and her other work on aging and anthropology.

 Dec 6 (Saturday) 1:00-2:15, Wilson A, Marriot Wardman Park

AAGE/AAA Interest Group Business meeting

Learn about what the group is up to, raise your voice and get involved in decisions and new projects (including contributing to the website!). This group relies on a lot of individuals, and we invite anyone (members or not) to attend and get to know us!

 Dec 6 (evening) – AAGE/Interest Group dinner (8PM, location and details  TBA)

PrintNow for the panels
I did a quick search for relevant terms and topics (aging is still not a key word for the AAA program), then I solicited responses via the Facebook page, and listserv.  If I did not list your panel, and you would like to advertise it here, I highly encourage you to write a comment below. In the interest of space, I will not include full abstracts, but I will list date, time, location, and titles/presenters. If you are a AAA member, you can login and use the links to add these panels to your personal scheduler.

Wednesday, December 3

12-1:45pm, Thurgood Marshall North


This workshop, co-chaired by AAGE member Mark Luborsky (Wayne State) and Linda Hunt (MSU) is bound to be full of practical information from anthropologists with a track record or NIH funding.

Thursday, December 4

2:30-4:15pm, McKinley


Chair: Elana D Buch, University of Iowa
Organizer: Jason A Danely, Oxford Brookes University, and Elana D Buch, University of Iowa
Discussant: Paul E Brodwin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Circulating Compassion: Claims of Deservingness Among Chicago Home Care Workers- Elana D Buch, University of Iowa

Compassion in Action?: Love, Pity, and Distraction in Thai Buddhist Eldercare- Felicity Aulino, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Practicing Compassion: Worthy Suffering Among Older Persons in the Netherlands- Jolanda Lindenberg, Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing

Compassionate Subjectivity: Producing and Managing Ethics and Affects of Family Caregivers of Older Adults in Japan– Jason A Danely, Oxford Brookes University

This panel was the result of discussions Elana and I had about the concept of “compassion” as it has been used in clinical and social care settings and the need to understand and practiced differently in different cultural contexts. While I was at first interested mostly in how Japanese Buddhists practiced compassion in secular contexts, Elana was suggested that we needed to pay attention to political contexts, including the role of anthropologist as a potential producer of compassion. This is also the first of many panels about “care,” some organized by AAGE members as well, but I did not list all of them here if they did not relate to aging or the life course (for example, 2-04060 TEMPORALITIES OF CARE; THE LABOR OF CARE  )

6:30-8:15PM Suite C


Chair: Ender Ricart, University of Chicago

Emerging Ontology of the Aging Society Crisis in Japan: Differentiation of Care and Prevention and the Re-Figuration of the Aging Process, Old Age, Sociality, and Life-Worlds– Ender Ricart, Univ. Chicago

Friday, December 5

2:30-4:15 PM


3-3:15 PM   Policy “Trickling up”: Hurricane Preparedness Policy for People with Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia –Janelle J. Christensen, Palm Beach State College

Saturday, December 6

9:00-10:45am Jackson


Organizers: Sarah E Lamb, Brandeis, Jessica C Robbins-Ruszkowski, Wayne State U
Discussant: Susan R Whyte, Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Ageless Aging or Meaningful Decline?: A Critical Anthropology of “Successful Aging”– Sarah E Lamb (Brandeis)

A Model of “Success”: Aging in a Catholic Convent– Anna I. Corwin (University of California, Los Angeles – Dept of Anthropology)

Stratification and Heterogeneity of Successful Aging Constructs in Thailand and USA– Mark R Luborsky (Wayne State University) Chulanee Thianthai (Chulalongkorn University)

Education, English, and Embroidery: The Sociality of Aging in Poland– Jessica C Robbins-Ruszkowski (Wayne State University)

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot: Friendship in the Face of Dementia– Janelle S Taylor (University Washington)

Deja vu? Nope, this was the panel that was so good, it was worth doing twice (see the guides to the GSA). Obviously something worth paying attention to is in the works here. This time Janelle Taylor, who has been doing more and more work in medical anthropology and dementia joins Sarah Lamb and the others.

11-12:45PM, Wilson A


Chair: Cheryl Mattingly, University of Southern California
Organizer: Bjarke Oxlund, University of Copenhagen and Lotte Meinert, Aarhus University
Discussants: Julie Livingston, Rutgers University and Ayo Wahlberg, University of Copenhagen

The organizer, Bjarke Oxlund is a member of the Anthropology & Aging editorial advisory board and a longtime AAGE member. Julie Livingston was part of the interlocutor session at a previous AAA. The panel (along with part ONE) is packed with big names who take generations seriously.

11-11:30 AM Jackson


From Cure to Care: Becoming Old and Diabetic in Tanzania– Peter M Van Eeuwijk, University of Basel

Combating Ageism in the Tanzanian Health System: From Painful Exclusion to Social Participation-Brigit Obrist van Eeuwijk, University of Basel

Die Suddenly or Die Knowing Her/His Remaining Lifetime: What Is Imagined As Good Death in Contemporary Japan– Hideaki Matsuoka, Osaka University

The Good Life at the End of Life: the Ideal End-of-Life for South Korean Elders Living in Toronto, Canada– Christine Moon, Brown University

Social and Material Entanglements in Institutional Long-Term Care: The Making and Unmaking of Personhood in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias– Jayne M Yatczak, Wayne State University

So if you went to the “Successful Aging” panel, stay in the room for this one on end-of-life care! A nice variety of approaches and regions represented here.

2:30- 4:15 PM, Wilson A


Chair: Chloe Silverman, Drexel University
Organizer: A. Elizabeth DeLuca, University of California Irvine, and Aaron T Seaman, University of Chicago
Discussant: Janelle S Taylor, University Washington

Giving Care?: Exploring the Analytic of Care through an Examination of the “Caregiver” – Aaron T Seaman, University of Chicago

Care, Risk, and Haunted Subjectivities- Matthew Furlong, University of Chicago

Honeybee Health, Uncertain Illnesses, and Medical Care– Chloe Silverman, Drexel University

Affective Labor and the Limits of Care: Reflections on Caretaking, Abuse and Intersubjectivity-Elizabeth DeLuca, University of California Irvine

Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Theorizing Accountability in Care Under Globalization and Neoliberalism– Athena McLean, Central Michigan University/ Andrea P Sankar, Wayne State University

Yes, there is more to say about care!! While Athena, Andrea, and Chloe have been working on issues of care and culture in medical contexts for a while, organizers Elizabeth and Aaron, and Matthew Furlong are graduate students doing some really exciting work. This is bound to be a very stimulating panel.


2:30 PM – 4:15 PM, Marriott Ballroom Salon 3- White

GENERAL POSTER SESSION: Body Image and Menopause: The Objective and Subjective Story

Lynn Morrison, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Daniel E. Brown, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Lynnette Leidy Sievert, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Angela Reza, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Nichole Rahberg, University of Hawaii at Manoa

2:30- 4:15 PM, Roosevelt Room 2


Chairs: Devin Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles, Emily Anne Lucitt, University of California, Los Angeles – Dept of Anthropology
Organizers: Devin Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles, Emily Anne Lucitt, University of California, Los Angeles – Dept of Anthropology

Discussant: Cheryl Mattingly, University of Southern California

Imagining and Caregiving:Hospice in Two “American” Cultures– Devin Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles

Sunday, December 6

10- 11:45 AM, Thurgood Marshall West


Chair: Bjarke Oxlund, University of Copenhagen
Organizers: Monika Palmberger, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Azra Hromadzic, Syracuse University
Discussant: Michele R Gamburd, Portland State University

Migrants of Privilege: American Retirees and the Imaginaries of Ecuadorian Care Work– Ann Miles, Western Michigan University

Late Life Choices: Feelings of Ambivalence Among Aging Labour Immigrants– Monika Palmberger, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

“Where Were They until Now?” Aging, Care and Abandonment in a Bosnian Town- Azra Hromadzic, Syracuse University

Where Home Is Not the Same: Emerging Notions of Reciprocity, Dependency, and Concepts of Person/Self in Tuareg Intergenerational Experiences of Migration- Susan J Rasmussen, University of Houston

Who Cares? Ageing, Transnational Care Arrangements and the Question of Morality- Yvon Van Der Pijl, Utrecht University

“I Do Not Expect to Become frail” – Transnational Aging Experiences from a Civil Servants Milieu of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania– Andrea Patricia Grolimund, University of Basel

Of the four AAGE heavy panels (Producing Compassion; Successful Aging; Aging, Elders and End-of-Life; and this one), aging and migration has the most explicit focus on the aging experience in the developing and impoverished world. This is not “retirement migration,” it is concerned, in the words of the abstract, with “transnational responsibility; competing ideas of personhood; morality and “good aging;” social security; and economies of care as they materialize in these diverse yet converging contexts of aging, migration and care.”

12- 1:45 PM, Thurgood Marshall South


12:45 PM

Senescence, Aging, and Allostatic Load in Sakiyama, Japan– Rachael Elizabeth Leahy, The Ohio State University; Douglas E. Crews, The Ohio State University; Yoshiaki Sone, Mimasaka University; Aiko Iwamoto, Osaka City University; Yosuke Kusano, Nagasaki Wesleyan University; Takahiro Maeda, Nagasaki University; Kiyoshi Aoyagi, Nagasaki University

Last, but not least, a bio-cultural life course perspective!

See you in DC!


(if we missed your panel, leave us a comment below!)

Silver Linings: Older People Defying Expectations – Lindsay DuBois and Liesl Gambold

Download entire group submission PDF here: AAQ34(2)SilverLinings_group

Download Introduction PDF here: AAQ34(2)intro

Introduction to the group submission: “Silver Linings: Older People Defying Expectations”

Guest Co-editors Lindsay DuBois and Liesl Gambold

Jean-Marie Guyau (1854-88), once a lecturer in philosophy at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris, spent the better part of his short career writing a book on the theory of time. In it he notes the impatience of youth, their lives lived bulging at the seams, while old age “by contrast, is more like the unchanging scenery of the classical theatre, a simple place, sometimes a true unity of time, place and action that concentrates everything round one dominant activity and expunges the rest” (cf Draaisma 2004: 207). Guyau was illustrating the narrowing of life in the autumn years; the dispensing with, perhaps, things one has come to realize are unnecessary, but also the resignation that ones brightest, beautiful and bold years have long since passed.

One comes, then, to expect very little in old age, or from the elderly. The collection of papers here highlights an alternative stage in which people are not only exhibiting powerful and colorful agency in their later years, but also are doing so with little regard for the diminutive expectations the world holds for them. What is it that inspires seniors to challenge the standard tropes of senior citizenship?

These papers aspire to focus our attention on the ways in which older people depart from the socially defined roles of later life. We expect youth to cross boundaries, take risks, challenge themselves and the cultural institutions around them, not the aged. Certainly the public eye is drawn more to youth movements and actions. However, with the world poised, in the next two decades, to experience its largest increase in the elderly population, how we treat aging and the decisions and actions of the elderly will be critical. Aging is framed by a common terrain of shifting physical health (itself a very individual experience) while marked by class, gender, race and place. Still, many seniors creatively navigate the ‘third age.’ Some find that their time, no longer tied so strictly to work and family, becomes truly their own and they turn to rejuvenating old interests or forging new ones. Others resist being moved, literally and figuratively, to the margins of society and strive to make their voices and opinions heard. As seniors see their social and political influence diminish in youth-obsessed cultures some find new strength and meaning in lives that include activism, migration, a new physicality, renegotiating their identity and carving out a new cultural and physical presence in their communities. Such analyses demand attention to the gendered dimensions of later life and we consider them here.

This group of articles looks at these issues in a variety of contemporary contexts. Robbins-Ruszkowski examines Universities of the Third Age as sites which offer alternatives to dominant discourses about aging in contemporary Poland. The Argentine elders DuBois describes engage in political activism in attempts to alter policies with respect to retirees, but also as an end in itself.  Gambold´s study of older women who retire abroad to Mexico and France shows how these women use international retirement as a way to live old age differently.  The articles thus describe older people actively engaged in redefining what it means to be old.

Draaisma, Douwe   2004.   Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older: How memory shapes our past. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.