Books

Ageless: Reflections on Lawrence Cohen’s No Aging in India

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Two decades ago, Lawrence Cohen’s No Aging in India: Alzheimer’s, the Bad Family, and Other Modern Things challenged the ways in which we think about aging and senility, kinship and its undoing, medicine and the nation, language and the possibilities of ethnographic writing, and what it means to do the anthropology of South Asia. But its 300-odd pages contain much …

Lectures

‘Stolen Spring’: Danish elders in plejehjemem under COVID-19 visiting restrictions

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First published in 1940, Hans Scherfig’s The Stolen Spring (Det Forsømte Forår) is both a satirical crime novel and a wry social commentary. Through his description of a school’s sociocultural dynamics and how administrators handle the murder of a teacher, Scherfig pointedly criticises particular patterns and structures in Danish society. As one reviewer wrote: “The small, scared …

Lectures

It takes two to tango

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This post draws on findings from a phone-based qualitative interview project in the Netherlands. During April 2020, we interviewed 59 seniors about their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis and their views on the portrayal of senior adults in the national media. The participants were between the age of 54 and 95 (M=75), living throughout the Netherlands, both independently and in …

Lectures

Aging and Social Justice: A slow-motion virtual conference

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As we have all seen, COVID-19 has been a tip of an iceberg, exposing deep layers of social stratification and inequities. From the mass deaths in long-term care and nursing homes and exposure of the working conditions of care workers, to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the violent responses to them, the critical importance of taking an intersectional approach to …

Lectures

In and outside the nursing home: On the (im)possibilities of meaningful contact while being held apart

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Ben (77) wrote this poem when he became unable to visit his wife Lise in the nursing home where she lived, expressing the loss and desperation of suddenly and indefinitely being held apart. As part of the measures taken in the Netherlands to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a visit ban had been imposed on nursing homes. Apart from staff, …

Lectures

On Vulnerability, Resilience, and Age: Older Americans Reflect on the Pandemic

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Every morning, Americans wake up to fresh news of the heavy toll the coronavirus pandemic is exerting upon vulnerable older people—from the likelihood of developing a more severe form of Covid-19, to the risks of isolation and mental health problems as they give up social contacts in order to stay safe. We read essays like the New York Times opinion