Using
Aging and Loss: Mourning and maturity in contemporary Japan

 

A woman prays at a home altar for her ancestors. At 90, she still makes offerings daily. (photo by Jason Danely)

A woman prays at a home altar for her ancestors. At 90, she still makes offerings daily. (photo by Jason Danely)

Aging & Loss examines aging as a constellation of aesthetic practices, the most pronounced being mourning and memorial. I call these aesthetic because, like art, their narratives are creatively tailored, and yet have profound affect on the way one perceives oneself, one's relationships with others, and the invisible world of the spirits.
It is divided into four main sections: Loss, Mourning, Abandonment and Care, and finally, Hope. Each of these sections features the voices and stories of a few of the individual participants, painting a portrait meant to express their varied, complex, and beautiful feelings and subjective experiences. I also 'zoom-out' to the broader historical, political, and cultural context of an aging Japan. CLICK HERE FOR THE SAMPLE TEACHING GUIDE

 

Using
Transitions and Transformations:
cultural perspectives on aging and the life course

 

Residents of Loknath Old Age Home tell of appreciating the seva offered by proprietor Pushpa (right)  (photo by Sarah Lamb)

Residents of Loknath Old Age Home tell of appreciating the seva offered by proprietor Pushpa (right)  (photo by Sarah Lamb)

Transitions and Transformations is meant to cover a wide range of subjects related to aging and culture. It is best used over an entire course, supplemented by related texts or discussion topics pulled from recent news. There are five sections, most comprised of three chapters, as well as an Afterword by Jennifer Cole. If you are using the book in a shorter summer term, focus on one section each week. If using the book in a ten or twelve week course, you can expand on each section or have the flexibility to add your own content without being bound to a textbook.
TEACHING GUIDE UNDER CONSTRUCTION