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.

ENAS

WAM is part of the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS).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.

Center for Gender and Diversity (NL)

The Center for Gender and Diversity (CGD) develops and offers tuition (e.g. Minor Crucial Differences) and engages in and develops research into the field of Gender and Diversity Studies (e.g. Aagje Swinnen’s Veni project “The Study of the Literary Imagination of Reminiscence in the Reifungs- and Vollendungsroman from a Genre and Gender Perspective.” The Center has built valuable expertise in the study of cultural representations (e.g. Maaike Meijer’s Kritiek van representatie, 1996) and theories of intersectionality, or the interplay of prominent identity markers such as age, gender and disability (e.g. the recently awarded project “Beyond Autonomy and Language: Towards a Disability Studies’ Perspective on Dementia” – ZonMw). In 2009 the CGD organized the conference “Points of Exit: (Un)Conventional Representations of Age, Parenting, and Sexuality” to celebrate its 10th anniversary (29-30 March 2009). Three panels on discourses of old age were formed. Within the framework of the project “Live to Be a Hundred: Cultural Narratives of Longevity,” the CGD hosts the conference “Theorizing Age: Challenging the Disciplines” in October 2011.

Participating members: Ruud Hendriks (Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy), Ike Kamphof (Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy), Aagje Swinnen (Assistant Professor, CGD), Annette Hendrikx (Researcher, CGD) and Elena Fronk (PhD candidate, Department of Literature and Art).

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).

NISAL, Linköping University (SE)

At the National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL), the interplay between the cultural, social, technical, and health aspects of aging in modern societies is studied. Research is conducted through major and minor projects within three broad fields: (1) Socio-cultural, political and historical contexts; (2) Care and welfare; (3) Aging in time and space: home, housing and technological landscapes. The researchers within the first field have a distinct humanities’ profile. They focus on how people “do” old age, how age is used and negotiated in various social contexts and historical times, and how the aging body is constructed in various social and cultural discourses. The group has special expertise in research on how older people, as a category, are understood and described in public discourses. NISAL has a graduate school and publishes the peer-reviewed International Journal of Ageing and Later Life (IJAL). It is one of the founding members of the Cultural Gerontology Association in Europe.

Participating members: Lars Andersson (Full Professor, NISAL), Eva Jeppson-Grassman (Full Professor, NISAL), Sandra Torres (Full Professor, NISAL), Jan-Erik Hagberg (Associate Professor, NISAL), Catharina Nord (Associate Professor, NISAL), and Peter Öberg (Associate Professor, Gävle University).

Austrian/German Aging Studies Group (AT/DE)

The Austrian/German Aging Studies group unites established scholars from the German-speaking area who study the representation of aging and old age in literature and culture. Roberta Maierhofer (director of the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz which has Aging Studies as one of the main research areas) set up the peer-reviewed book series Aging Studies in Europe (ASIE), which in the future will be released on a yearly basis as the Aging Studies in Europe Yearbook. Maierhofer co-edited the first volume, Narratives of Life (2009), with Heike Hartung (Department of English and American Studies, University of Potsdam) and the forthcoming First Yearbook in Aging Studies will be co-edited by Maierhofer and her Graz-based colleagues Ulla Kriebernegg and Heidi Moertl. Other co-edited publications with the scholars from Potsdam include special issues of American Studies (Rüdiger Kunow / H. Hartung), and theJournal of Aging, Humanities, and the Arts (R. Maierhofer / H. Hartung), and contributions to the Guide to Humanistic Studies in Aging (R. Kunow). The group stimulates exchange between its members by means of the organization of international lectures series and conferences, such as the conference “Aging Stories: Narrative Constructions of Age and Gender” (Greifswald, 2006), the workshop “Aging Studies & the Futures of Cultural Studies” (Potsdam, 2009), the “C.SAS Special Series on Aging” (Graz, 2010), and “Lebensgeschichten: Altern im Film” (Mainz, 2009).

Participating members: Roberta Maierhofer (Professor, Vice-Rector, and Director of the Center for Inter-American Studies, University of Graz), Rüdiger Kunow (Full Professor, Chair of American Studies, Department of English and American Studies, University of Potsdam), Thomas Kirsten (Full Professor, Department of Aging Science and Humanities, University of Rostock), Ulla Kriebernegg (Assistant Professor, Center for Inter-American Studies, University of Graz), Rada Bieberstein (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Communication Studies and Journalism, University of Mainz), Heike Hartung (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of English and American Studies, University of Potsdam), Heidrun Moertl (PhD candidate, the Center for Inter-American Studies, University of Graz), and Beate Eisner (PhD candidate, Department of English and American Studies, University of Potsdam).

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)

NANAS Logo 2The 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)

ACTACT 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.

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