WAM is a proud member of many networks involved in the study of ageing. Below you will find details of our international colleagues and affiliated networks.
WAM is part of the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS). One of the greatest challenges that today’s Western societies face is their radical demographic change resulting from the expanding human lifespan. The ever-increasing group of older people prompts a thorough reflection on the ways in which we experience and organize human life, more specifically, on the cultural meanings of the aging process, and the theories and policies on aging. The European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS) intends to facilitate sustainable international collaboration so as to develop research that bridges perspectives on aging from the social sciences and the humanities. It was inaugurated in Maastricht (NL), 6-9 October 2011. See the ENAS website here.
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC)
The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC) critically investigates questions of aging and the organization of care (caring communities and cultures of care) in society from multiple perspectives. The center’s research deals with possibilities as well as challenges that are brought to us by an aging society, by demographic change, and social inequalities. Through an interdisciplinary focus and the incorporation of a multiplicity of perspectives and disciplines, the topics of age/ing are being researched. The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on
Aging and Care focuses on research, teaching, and the promotion of early career scholars. Based on scholarly research in the humanities, social sciences, and cultural studies, the center’s scholarship deals with questions of cultural representations, the social construction of age and aging, a fair and democratic organization of care (in relation to gender and other aspects of intersectionality), socio-demographic change, dementia research and disability studies, as well as the topics of care- and medical ethics and the end of life. One of the center’s core research areas is the cultural studies-based research on aging (Aging Studies) which focuses on cultural representations of aging and care. Central aspects of this scholarship are questions of heterogeneity of age/ing and care, the individual experience of aging, the institutionalization of the end of life but also topics such as digitalization, technology and robotics, intergenerationality, gender, intersectionality, migration, dementia, as well as research areas such as Medical/Health Humanities and Narrative Medicine. Another central aspect pertains to questions and needs of social development and transformation, networks of solidarity and care at an older age and at the end of life. The discursive intersections of Public Health, Care Ethics, and Palliative Care act as a conceptual framework for these topics. The center’s research topics are all contextualized inter- and transdisciplinarily. CIRAC closely collaborates with national and international partner institutions such as ENAS, NANAS, the GSA, AgeCap Gothenburg, and TCAS Trent. Further, the Age and Care Research Group Graz (ageandcaregraz.at), a collaborative research group of all four universities in Graz, which is coordinated by CIRAC, allows for cooperation with other universities and institutional partners from practical fields and the general public on a national and international level.
Grup Dedal-Lit, University of Lleida (ES)
Grup Dedal-Lit is currently conducting research into aging as represented in literature written in English. The group has undertaken and completed several research projects, such as “Perceptions of Ageing in Contemporary English Literature,” a project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology. In 2002, Grup Dedal-Lit organized “The Art of Ageing: An International, Interdisciplinary Conference on Textualising the Phases of Life” (6-8 November). In 2008 it set up the “6th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology: Extending Time, Emerging Realities, Imagining Response” (16-18 October). Both conferences were funded mainly by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Since 2002, Grup Dedal-Lit publications have focused specifically on aging. The Dedal-Lit series includes The Aesthetics of Ageing: Critical Approaches to Literary Representations of the Ageing Process (Eds. Maria O’Neill and Carmen Zamorano-Llena, 2002), The Polemics of Ageing as Reflected in Literatures in English (Eds. Maria Vidal-Grau and Núria Casado-Gual, 2004), Women Ageing Through Literature and Experience (Ed. Brian J. Worsfold, 2005), The Art of Ageing: Textualising the Phases of Life (Ed. Brian J. Worsfold, 2005), andAnthology of Cultural Ageing: Testimonies from Catalonia and England (Eds. Maricel Oró-Piqueras and Marta Miquel-Baldellou). Acculturating Age: Approaches to Cultural Gerontology (Ed. Brian J. Worsfold) is scheduled for publication in Spring 2011.
Participating members: Brian J. Worsfold (Full Professor, UdL), Núria Casado-Gual (Assistant Professor, UdL), Emma Domínguez-Rué (Assistant Professor, UdL), Maria del Carmen Farré-Vidal (Assistant Professor, UdL), Billy Gray (Associate Professor, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun, SE), Marta Miquel-Baldellou (PhD candidate, UdL), Maricel Oró-Piqueras (Assistant Professor, UdL), Florentina Tomescu-Dinu (PhD candidate, UdL), Maria Vidal-Grau (Associate Professor, UdL), and Carmen Zamorano-Llena (Assistant Professor, Högskolan Dalarna, Falun, SE).
The primary objective of this project is to analyse social constructions of ageing masculinities and/through their cultural representations in contemporary European literatures and cinemas. The study specifically seeks:
(a) to understand more fully the interrelationship of masculinities with a variety of social issues specifically associated with men’s ageing: older men’s health; social inclusion and exclusion; sexualities and affective relationships; and ageist stereotypes;
(b) to explore men’s experiences of, and attitudes to, ageing across different European cultures, exploring their commonalities and differences, at both national and transnational levels;
(c) to gain a deeper understanding of ageing masculinities in and through cultural representations; and
(d) to share the results of this project with other researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to help them devise strategies and policies designed to promote greater gender and age equity.
If age studies focus on youth and gerontology studies of either older women or “ungendered” portraits of ageing (Saxton and Cole 2012), this project will explore the gendered specificities of men’s ageing. Applying to the cultural analysis an interdisciplinary corpus of masculinity and age studies, the project seeks to make an impact by crossing the traditional Social Sciences-Humanities boundary and by proving that not only do social notions of masculinity shape their cultural representations, but they simultaneously affect the social (de-)construction of both gender and age.
Associated US/Canadian Partners
NWSA Aging and Ageism Caucus (US)
Established in 1977, the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) leads the field of American women’s studies and gender studies in educational and social transformation. The NWSA has more than 2,000 members worldwide, and its U.S.-based annual conference regularly draws more than 1,500 attendees. The Aging and Ageism Caucus (AAS) of the NWSA has been sponsoring regular panels and other plenary sessions at the NWSA Annual Conference for more than a decade. The Caucus represents a diverse group of scholars and activists committed to resisting ageism within and without the organization, educating people about ageism, and furthering the field of Aging Studies and Age Studies as an area of academic inquiry.
Participating members: Erin Gentry Lamb (Assistant Professor of Biomedical Humanities, Hiram College, current caucus co-chair), Pamela Gravagne (PhD candidate in American Studies, University of New Mexico, current caucus co-chair), Leni Marshall (Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Stout), Peg Cruikshank (Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies, University of Southern Maine) and Margaret Morganroth Gullette (Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center, Brandeis University)
MLA Age Studies Discussion Group (US)
Founded in 1883, the Modern Language Association (MLA) is an international professional organization for researchers and teachers of literature and languages, with more than 30,000 members in over 100 countries. The mission of the MLA’s Age Studies Discussion Group (ASDG) is to benefit the association and serve as a valuable resource for researchers and educators in the field of age studies. To achieve this goal, researchers explore the implications of differences of age across the lifespan and the intersections of age with other categories of identity in literature, media, and culture, particularly focusing on considerations of aging and old age. Educators incorporate age studies concepts into pedagogies of literature, language, and writing. We encourage scholars to explore the impact of their own and others’ age-based stereotypes, the benefits and frustration of aging, and the potential inherent in aging and old age beyond the boundaries of essentialist, reductive valuations. The ASDG supports examinations of cultural assumptions and research about age and age-based discriminations, including responses and resistance.
Participating members: Ted Anton (Full Professor, English Department, DePaul University), Elizabeth Gregory (Full Professor of English, and Director of Women’s Studies, University of Houston), E. Ann Kaplan (Full Professor of English, and Director of the Humanities Institute, State University of New York – Stony Brook), Devoney Looser (Full Professor of English, University of Missouri), Kathleen Woodward (Full Professor and Director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities, University of Washington), Michelle Massé (Full Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, and English, Louisiana State University), Teresa Mangum (Associate Professor, English, International Studies, University of Iowa), Leni Marshall (Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Stout), Cynthia Port (Assistant Professor of English, Carolina Costal University) and Valerie Lipscomb (Instructor of English, Director of the Writing Resource Center, University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee).
North American Network of Ageing Studies (NANAS)
The North American Network in Aging Studies (NANAS) was established in January, 2013 by a small group of humanities and social science scholars who were interested in critical examinations of older age that moved away from the experimental sciences and instead spoke to fundamental questions of human existence. NANAS is the North American version of the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS) whose mission is to “facilitate sustainable, international and multi-disciplinary collaboration among all researchers interested in the study of cultural aging.” It was at the inaugural conference of ENAS, held in Maasticht in October, 2011, that plans to form NANAS began. In July, 2013, NANAS held a planning retreat in Hiram College in Ohio which was attended by scholars from the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Austria. Attendees engaged in critical dialogue about the focus of the organization, potential publications and collaborations, and the future of aging studies. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is the organizational home for NANAS. Its university sponsors are: the Department of Gerontology and Sociology, the Scripps Gerontology Research Center, and the Miami University Humanities Center.
Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) (Canada)
ACT is a multi-methodological research project that brings together researchers and institutional and community partners to address the transformation of the experiences of ageing with the proliferation of new forms of mediated communications in networked societies. ACT is comprised of researchers, students, and community and institutional partners from around the world. Together, we are investigating how ‘digital ageism’ – the individual and systemic biases that create forms of inclusion and exclusion that are age-related – operates in subtle ways at this time. Through our collective and collaborative research, we provide an analysis that comes from our engagement with individuals and communities of elders and suggest strategies for change.
It is a critical and exciting moment to embark on new ways of understanding the intersection of ageing and digital technologies. The world’s population is ageing. One in four people are expected to be over the age of 65 in the next two decades, making ‘the senior citizen’ the largest demographic group in the Western World. At the same time that we are expected to live longer, there has been a proliferation of digital devices, information technologies and mediated systems of communication that network populations globally. How ageing populations, and those in later life, are experiencing a world that is increasingly mediated by the proliferation of digital devices is the primary focus of our research project. See the ACT website here.