Upcoming Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures

Fall 2022

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

7 p.m., Sloan Auditorium, 101 Goergen Hall

Successful Aging’s Global Moment: Visions and Dilemmas of Aging Well

Sarah Lamb
Barbara Mandel Professor of Humanistic Social Sciences
Professor of Anthropology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Brandeis University

The share of older persons in the population is increasing at an accelerated rate in almost every country around the globe. No wonder that in many societies, aging is a growing political and personal preoccupation and an increasingly intensive focus of cultural and commercial energy. Emanating from North America and spreading across the globe, successful aging envisions postponing or even eliminating the negatives of old age by medical intervention and individual effort, through practices such as exercise, a healthy diet, and positive attitude. Like much of American culture, such successful aging discourses are taking root globally, shaped and inflected by local cultural and political contexts. Drawing on the voices and perspectives of older people across diverse contexts in India and the United States, Sarah Lamb aims to illuminate successful aging’s often unquestioned assumptions. On the face of it, successful aging is a highly appealing notion. At the same time, the successful aging movement exports a deeply American cultural discomfort with oldness and human conditions of frailty and (inter)dependence, in ways that both undermine other paradigms of aging and obscure social inequalities.