This honors course examines social issues and consequences of advancing age in the 21st century. The examination is designed to create intellectual foundations as place from which to critique social images, constructions and processes. Contemporary and historical ideas ranging from stereotypes of the dirty old man and the sweet little old lady to language of intergenerational conflict and the sandwich generation are all material for building those foundations. Resources used include classical works in social gerontology and emerging research in aging studies and related fields. These works and those selected by the student are viewed through a critical lens built from understandings of diverse individual, familial, cultural and societal notions of aging and human experience and drawing on student and faculty background and life experience. Skills for participant
observer field work in the tradition of thick description are built to allow reflection of current representations of aging and being old in contrast to the contemporary and historical ideas gleaned from the literature.