About ANTH 3990 OL1

See Schedule of Courses for specific titles. Prerequisites: ANTH 1100, one 2000-level course.


Co-located with ANTH 2181 Total combined enrollment = 40; Asynchronous online Special Topics courses cannot carry CC designations.

Section Description

Anth 2181/3990: Aging in Cross-Cultural Perspective: D2, S1, WIL2. (This course used to be numbered ANTH 189/295 before 4-digit course numbers.) In the current global context of rapid population aging, the study of aging is vitally important. This course examines aging from an anthropological perspective. Topics include exploration of biocultural, biosocial, and sociocultural aspects of human aging across the adult lifecycle in a variety of social and cultural groups. Prerequisites: Three hours of ANTH or HDFS or HSOC or SOC or instructor permission. This is a core course for the Global Health Concentration in Anthropology, the Anthropology Minor’s Global Health Focus, and the Major in Health and Society. It also counts toward the Minor in Health and Society, the Anthropology BA and BS, the Gerontology Certificate, and the Public Health Sciences BS. Other students are also welcome to join the course. In this course, we read about diverse experiences of aging in different sociocultural contexts and explore related biocultural and biosocial issues. The readings examine demographic, historical, cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions of societies that affect meanings and experiences of aging and how communities organize themselves around aging. Each module students read a set of readings on a common theme. Themes include overview of issues; the notion of successful aging; health, illness, and disability; menopause; old age support; caregiving; volunteering and work; grandparents and grandkids; elderscapes; migration; death and dying; and conclusions and futures. Our readings include chapters from two rich edited volumes and some articles on Brightspace. These readings provide an in-depth look at aging in East Asian societies (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Korea), plus introductions to aging in other cultural areas. Other areas covered include the US, Canada, Europe (Italy, Romania), Central and South America and the Caribbean (Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba), Africa (Ghana, Tanzania), the Middle East (Oman), South and Southeast Asia (India and Thailand), and Russia, among others.

Section Expectation

The course is asynchronous online. In the course, the professor provides sets of readings and reading questions designed to deepen student’s understanding of sociocultural issues related to aging. In their work, students create regular discussion posts with critical analysis and critical reflection about the assigned readings in relation to prompt questions and contribute responses to their classmates’ posts. The professor also shares insider knowledge about research resources for writing about aging in anthropology and related social sciences. Drawing upon this, each student does a research project on a related topic of their choice, writing a thesis-driven term paper using scholarly sources from within and outside the course, with drafts and peer feedback along the way. Required Texts: 1) E-Book: Jeanne Shea, Katrina Moore, and Zhang Hong, Beyond Filial Piety: Rethinking Aging and Caregiving in Contemporary East Asian Societies, 2022 edition, eISBN 978-1-78920-789-7 eBook. Required. E-book available for purchase at this link at Berghahn Books ($39.95): https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/SheaBeyond. The e-book is the quickest and best way to get the book since we start reading from it from the first day of classes onward. Alternatively, students may purchase the 2022 paperback ($39.95) if they can have it in hand before summer session. Please note that we are not using the 2020 hardback version, which is more expensive and does not include the updates that the 2022 version does. 2) E-Book: Jay Sokolovsky, ed., The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives, 4th edition, Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ABC-Clio, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-4408-5826-0. Required. Available at these links as a free e-book through Howe Library https://library.uvm.edu/ or for purchase in paperback at UVM Bookstore ($44.25) or onlinehttps://uvmbookstore.uvm.edu/buy_book_detail.asp?pf_id=12784318 . We will start reading this book from the first day of summer session onward. To access the library copy, in Howe Library, go to Catquest and search: Sokolovsky Cultural Context of Aging 2020. Make sure to click on the 2020 version and online access. Earlier versions of this book are very different from the 2020 edition.


Class conduct 4%. Discussion posts on readings 40%, Discussion responses to two classmates 18%. Initial term paper work 4%. 1st peer feedback 2%. Term paper draft 4%. 2nd peer feedback 2%. Final term paper 26%. Summer session courses like this one pack a full semester (normally 3.5 months) of reading and written work into one month. In addition, since the course is asynchronous online, class discussion is done in written form. Therefore, students should expect to spend many hours each day during our summer session reading and writing. Students taking the course at the 3000 level have higher expectations for the quantity and quality of work in the course as appropriate for an advanced course.

Important Dates

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw