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Title: NURS 339

    Ageing, Beauty, and Sexuality: stPsychological Gerontology in the 21 Century

Course Units: 1 cu

    3 hours of seminar and 1 hour of field work per week

    Catalogue Description: This honors course examines the psychological gerontology of stadvancing age and identity in the 21 century. Examination emphasizes gendered notions of beauty and sexuality in ageing and the life span to foster discourse around historical notions and

    images of beauty and ugliness in late life in contrast to contemporary messages of attractiveness

    and age represented by both women and men. The course is designed to create intellectual

    foundations as a place from which to critique socially mediated and personally conveyed images

    and messages from a variety of media and their influence on intrapersonal and interpersonal

    constructions and social processes. Contemporary and historical ideas encompassing

    stereotypical and idealized views of the older person are employed to reflect dialogue around

    readings and fieldwork. Classical and contemporary scholarship from gerontology, anthropology,

    biomedicine and surgery, nursing, and marketing among other disciplines, as well as select lay

    literature, are critiqued and compared with interpretation of fieldwork to build understandings of

    diverse individual, familial, and cultural impressions of ageing and identity. Skills for participant

    observer field work in the tradition of thick description are built to allow reflection and analysis

    of discourse about ageing, beauty, sexuality, and other relevant aspects of human identity.

Placement: Undergraduate students in any major

Faculty: Sarah H. Kagan, PhD, RN


Teaching Assistant: Lisa Gatti

Pre-requisites: None

Co-requisites: None

Course Overview: This course is an intensive and focused introduction to

    psychological gerontology as a trans-disciplinary lens through which to examine aspects of

    ageing identity as it is interpreted through and played out if a variety of intra- and inter-personal

    implications including gender, race, ethnicity, and class in actions and consequences for an

    ageing society. Varied sources are employed to introduce students from any field to classical


and contemporary thought and inquiry in psychological gerontology. Field work in the tradition

    of thick description creates a mechanism to engage students in newly framed gerontological

    observations in their life worlds. Weekly field work, observing aspects of ageing and the

    ramifications of images of beauty and sexuality in daily life (e.g. good and services marketed

    with reference to age, graphic images and art that capture elements of aged identity), serves to

    contrast and highlight close critical readings of classical and contemporary psychological

    gerontology and relevant literature from other fields. Student participation in the seminar

    demands careful scrutiny and critical synthesis of disparate intellectual and cultural perspectives

    using readings and fieldwork and creation of oral and written arguments that extend

    understandings of the issues at hand in new and substantive ways. Creative approaches to

    identifying literature, analyzing fieldwork and representing critique in the graphic image

    analyses and term paper are encouraged.

Course Objective:

    o To examine ageing identity in context provided by psychological gerontology.

    Contributory Objectives:

    1. For NURS 339:

    a. To closely and critically explore selected works in classical and contemporary

    psychological gerontology and other disciplines that examine identity through

    analysis of beauty and sexuality

    b. To identify and critique current research in psychological gerontology and

    related disciplines

    c. To conduct weekly field work to observe images of age, beauty, sexuality, and


    d. To analyze graphic images and art through a perspective informed by

    psychological gerontology

    e. To evaluate issues emerging through critical analysis of beauty, sexuality and

    ageing identity in psychological gerontology in relation to ideals and

    imperatives embodied by individuals in our own and other diverse ageing

    societies as well as historical figures

    f. To select and apply classical and current theoretical, philosophical, empirical

    and standpoint perspectives to frame interpretation and a critical argument

    grounded in data obtained through field work. Required Texts:

    See weekly topical outline

Selected References:

    Students are responsible for researching and obtaining relevant readings for each week and for

    their field work, book and film reports, and term paper. These readings may be academic or

    popular and taken from any language in which the student is fluent (NB: Students who choose to

    use readings in languages other than English must necessarily offer support for that reading to

    faculty and students who are not including translation and applicable supporting references in

    English where applicable). Readings selected by students must include a minimum of one


primary source that diverges from, critiques, or uses an approach, focus, or method different

    from the Western Anglo-European view that undergirds psychological gerontology and related


Total Theory Hours: 28

    Total Field Work Hours: 14

    Academic Integrity: The University Code of Academic Integrity is central to the ideals that undergird this course. Students are expected to be independently familiar with the Code and to recognize that their work in the course is to

    be their own original work that truthfully represents the time and effort applied. Violations of

    the Code are most serious and will be handled a manner that fully represents the extent of the

    Code and that befits the seriousness of its violation.

Course Assignments:

    1. Participation in seminar discussions 15%

    2. Image analyses (3) 20%

    3. Field work notebook 15%

    4. Term paper 50%

    Assignment Guidelines: NB: The student‟s work must evince a sophistication, tenor, and quality commensurate with

    honors undergraduate study. Assigned work will be evaluated with that level of detail,

    background, and argument in mind. For example, proficiency in research critique is not

    necessary however balanced critique of existing work from the student‟s academic frame of

    reference is required in class participation, the term paper, and at any point where the student

    chooses to refer to existing literature. Connecting the work of this course to areas of interest in

    the student‟s major and professional studies as appropriate is encouraged. Specific points of

    evaluation are outlined in relation to each assignment.

    1. Participation: Students are expected to participate in class discussion, in person and

    electronic means, in a manner that evinces focused attention to background and self-

    selected readings and portrays a scholarly approach to the material at hand and the

    course as a whole. The student‟s approach must be consistent with expectations for

    honors undergraduate study. Comments and questions, while inherently respectful of

    students and faculty, should also be appropriately critical and analytic. Comments

    and questions that are conflated, seek attention, or are needlessly argumentative or

    pedantic will not contribute to success in the course. Participation includes

    appropriate comments on the course Face Book Fan Page. These comments are

    public and thus subject to approval of the faculty.

    2. Image Analyses: Students will submit four image analyses on appropriate material of

    their own choosing during the course at approximately weeks 3, 6, and 10. All

    images that offer symbols, content, or messages relevant to age and the process of

    ageing or avoiding it, beauty or ugliness, sexuality emphasizing interpretations of


sexuality and not sex per se, and identity may be amenable to such analysis. Students

    are encouraged to seek images carefully and from a variety of sources from art to

    commercial advertisement.

    ? All reports should evince tone, content, and style consistent with honors study. ? The analyses should be no longer than 750 to 1000 words in length, offering a

    description of the image employed before engaging in a concise, synthesized, and

    balanced, well argued critique with only references only as necessary to support a

    critical point.

    ? A hard or digital copy of the image analyzed must be included as an appendix to

    each analysis.

    ? The critique offered across the four analyses should progress in substance, tone

    and sophistication from the first to the last.

    ? The critique should be from the student‟s perspective and voice and therefore not

    in need of substantial outside documentation.

    ? The writing style should be scholarly and tightly constructed without extraneous

    words or argument.

    ? Accurate spelling and grammar and sound paragraph and argument

    construction are then implied as part of this style.

    ? A single, consistent citation style should be throughout the course and papers

    should be written in it.

    3. Field work: Students will engage in field work that represents participant-observation

    of phenomena occurring in their daily lives and in their environments, including

    recreation and media that involve representation of age, beauty, sexuality, and

    identity in this or, if students travel, in another society.

    ? While students may keep field notes in any format that will preserve integrity,

    anonymity, and confidentiality, weekly notes that are complied from field data

    without editing and adding reflection and analysis should be submitted


    ? Field notes must be discreet, observational, detailed, non-judgmental, and


    ? Memos on theory, methods, and analysis should be written as adjuncts to the

    notes themselves.

    ? Data must be maintained in a manner that preserves confidentiality and

    anonymity for those involved and should never be gleaned from highly

    emotionally, psychologically, or politically charged circumstances. ? Questions regarding circumstances of observation should be asked immediately

    and directly to faculty if even a single qualm arises in a given situation. See

    attached materials regarding protection of human subjects ethics approval. ? The American Sociological Association Code of Ethics

    ( ) guides the

    field work and analysis within the course and must be upheld at all times.

    4. Term paper: The term paper synthesizes an issue salient to beauty, sexuality, and

    ageing or aged identity. Topics may be developed from ideas emerging from field

    work, image analyses, and lay or scholarly literature. Critique and synthetic analysis

    of the thesis proposed should incorporate well chosen classical and contemporary

    scholarship, placed within in an appropriate intellectual frame.


    ? The paper must evince critique, tone, content, analysis and style consistent with

    honors study.

    ? The frame may be a specific theoretical, conceptual, or philosophical rubric from

    any applicable discipline and society that is germane to the issue addressed.

    ? The critique should be in the student‟s voice and reflective of current scholarship

    on the selected issue. It therefore must be substantially supported by relevant

    citations from applicable literature.

    ? The writing style should be scholarly and tightly constructed without extraneous

    words or argument.

    ? The paper should be of a length adequate to develop the argument after setting

    out the central thesis. Generally speaking, this length indicates a range of

    2500 to 5000 words.

    ? Accurate spelling and grammar and sound paragraph and argument

    construction are then implied as part of this style.

    ? A single, consistent style should be used throughout the course and papers

    should be written in it.

    Weekly Topical Outline and Readings

    Week 1: Individuals in Ageing Societies Readings:

    Eyetsemitan, F., Gire, J. T., Khaleefa, O. and Satiardama, M. P. (2003). Influence of the cross

    cultural environment on the perception of aging and adult development in the developing world:

    A study of Bahrain, Brazil and Indonesia. Asian Journal of Social Psychology 6 (1), 51-60.

Kinsella, K., & Velkoff, V. A. (2001). U.S. Census Bureau, Series P95/01-1 An Aging World:

    2001. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Yun, R. J. and Lachman, M. E. (2006). Perceptions of Aging in Two Cultures: Korean and

    American Views on Old Age. Cross Cultural Gerontology. DOI 10.1007/s10823-006-9018-y.

Week 2: Field work


    Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973

Schatzman, Leonard and Strauss, Anselm A. (1973). Field research: Strategies for a natural

    sociology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

Week 3: Aesthetic Theory and Ageing (IMAGE ANALYSIS DUE)


    Bon, M. (2001). The Study of Rejuvenation Through Facial Remodeling Following the Phantom

    Baby Theory. International Journal Of Cosmetic Surgery And Aesthetic Dermatology 3 (4), 241-


Montague, K. (1994). The Aesthetics of Hygiene: Aesthetic Dress, Modernity, and the Body as

    Sign. Journal of Design History 7 (2), 91-112.


Oumeish, O. Y. (2001). The Cultural and Philosophical Concepts of Cosmetics in Beauty and

    Art Through The Medical History of Mankind. Clinics in Dermatology 19(4) 375-386

Pessa, J. E. (2000). An Algorithm of Facial Aging: Verification of Lambros‟s Theory by Three-

    Dimensional Stereolithography, with Reference to the Pathogenesis of Midfacial Aging, Scleral

    Show, and the Lateral Suborbital Trough Deformity. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 106: 479-488.

    Russell, R. (2003). Sex, beauty, and the relative luminance of facial features. Perception, 32, 1093 1107.

Week 4: Age and Ageing


    Aboderin, I. (2004). Modernisation and ageing theory revisited: current explanations of recent

    developing world and historical Western shifts in material family support for older people.

    Ageing & Society 24, 2950.

Calasanti, T. (2004). Feminist Gerontologist and Old Men. Journal of Gerontology: Social

    Sciences 59B (6) S305S314.

Dillaway, H. E. (2005). (Un)Changing Menopausal Bodies: How Women Think and Act in the

    Face of a Reproductive Transition and Gendered Beauty Ideals. Sex Roles, 53 (1/2), 1-17.

Week 5: Identity and Ageing


    Brown, A. and Draper, P. (2003). Accommodative speech and terms of endearment: elements

    of a language mode often experienced by older adults. Journal of Advanced Nursing 41(1), 15


Butler, R. N. (1963). The life review: An interpretation of reminiscence in the aged. Psychiatry,

    26, 65-75.

Hill, G. and Silver, A. G. (1950). Psychodynamic and Esthetic Motivations for Plastic Surgery.

    Psychosomatic Medicine 12 (6), 345-355.

    Week 6: Beauty, Ugliness, and Attraction (IMAGE ANALYSIS DUE) Readings:

    Diamond, S. 1987). The Beautiful and the Ugly are One Thing, the Sublime Another: A

    Reflection on Culture. Cultural Anthropology 2 (2) 268-271.

    Huss-Ashmore, R. (2000). The Real Me: Therapeutic Narrative in Cosmetic Surgery. Expedition, 42, 3:






Kaw, E. (1993). Medicalization of racial features: Asian American women and cosmetic surgery.

    Medical Anthropology Quarterly 7(1) 74-89.

Kumar, P. (2002). Concept of Beauty in India. International Journal Of Cosmetic Surgery And

    Aesthetic Dermatology 4 (4), 261-264.

Week 7: Sexuality and Ageing


    Adams, M. S., Oye, J., and Parker, T. S. (2003). Sexuality of older adults and the Internet: from

    sex education to cybersex. Sexual and Relationship Therapy 18 (3), 405-415.

Katz, S. and Marshall, B. (2003). New sex for old: lifestyle, consumerism, and the ethics of

    aging well. Journal of Aging Studies 17, 316

    Potts, A., Gavey, N., Grace, V. M. and Vares, T. (2003). The downside of Viagra: women‟s experiences and concerns. Sociology of Health & Illness 25 (7): 697719.

Week 8: Enjoy Spring Break!

Week 9: Ageing and Anti-Ageing


    Alsarraf, R., Larrabee, W. F., Johnson, C. F. (2001). Cost Outcomes of Facial Plastic Surgery -

    Regional and Temporal Trends. Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery 3, 44-47.

    Binstock, R. H. (2003). The War on Anti-Aging Medicine. The Gerontologist 43 (1), 4-14.

    Dillaway, H. E. (2005). “Menopause Is The “Good Old” Women‟s Thoughts about Reproductive Aging. Gender & Society, 19 (3) 98-417

Robert, L. (2004). The Three Avenues of Gerontology: From Basic Research to Clinical

    Gerontology and Anti-Aging Medicine. Another French Paradox. Journal of Gerontology:

    Biological Sciences 59A (6) 540542.

    Week 10: Ageing Embodiment and Activity (IMAGE ANALYSIS DUE) Readings:

    Calasanti, T. (2005). Ageism, Gravity, and Gender: The Experience of Aging Bodies.

    Generations 29 (3), 8-12.

Calasanti, T. and King, N. (2005). Firming the Floppy Penis. Men and Masculinities, 8 (1) July

    2005 3-23

Katz, S. (2000). Busy Bodies: Activity, Aging, and the Management of Everyday Life. Journal

    Of Aging Studies 14 (2) 135-152.


Paulson, S. (2005). How various „cultures of fitness‟ shape subjective experiences of growing

    older. Ageing & Society 25, 229244.

Vertinsky, P. (1991). Old Age, Gender and Physical Activity: The Biomedicalization of Aging.

    Journal of Sport History 18 (1), 64-80.

    Week 11: Manipulation of the Ageing Corporeal Body Readings:

    Fee, E.; Brown, T. M.; Lazarus, J.; Theerman, P. (2002). The effects of the corset. American

    Journal of Public Health; 92, 7; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 1085

Ringel, E. W. (1998). The Morality of Cosmetic Surgery for Aging. Archives of Dermatology

    134, 427-434.

Rohrich, R. R. (2000). The Anti-Aging Revolution: An Evolving Role for Plastic Surgery.

    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 105 (6), 2140-2142.

Sergile, S. and Obata, K. (1997). Mikamo's Double-Eyelid Operation: The Advent of Japanese

    Aesthetic Surgery. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 99(3):662-667.

    Week 12: Disease, Injury, and Ageing Identity Readings:

    Beard, R. L. (2004). Advocating voice: organisational, historical and social milieux of the

    Alzheimer‟s disease movement. Sociology of Health & Illness 26 (6) 797819.

Blumenthal, H. T. (2003). The AgingDisease Dichotomy: True or False? Journal of

    Gerontology: Medical Sciences 58A (2),138145.

Kagan, S. H. (in press). Hot Dogs and Champagne. Chapter 1 in Blessings and Battles.

    Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

    Week 13: Marketing Ageing and Anti-Ageing Readings:

    Carrigan, M. and Szimigin, I. (2000). Advertising in an ageing society. Ageing and Society 20,


Carter, P.C. and Hernandez, M. (2004). Consumer Discourse in Assisted Living. Journal of

    Gerontology: Social Sciences 59B (2), S58S67

Chan, S-H. and Leung, L-C. (2005). Between viewing and consuming: How aging women in

    Hong Kong negotiate television advertisements. Feminist Media Studies 5 (2) 123-140.

Miller, F. G., Brody, H., and Chung, K. C. (2000). Cosmetic Surgery and the Internal Morality of

    Medicine. Cambridge Ethics Quarterly 9, 353-364


Schewe, C. D.(1988). Marketing to Our Aging Population: Responding to Physiological Changes.

    Journal of Consumer Marketing, 5 (3), 61-70.

Weijters, B. and Geuens, M. (2002). Evaluation Of Age-Related Labels By Senior Citizens.

    Vlerick Working Papers 2002/22, 1-12.

    Week 14: Aesthetics and the Self in Dying and Death Readings:

    Dobson, R. (2005). Age discrimination denies elderly people a “dignified death”. BMJ 330,1288.

Doss, E. (2002). Death, art and memory in the public sphere: the visual and material culture of

    grief in contemporary America. Mortality, 71(1), 63-82.

Emmanuel, E. J. and Emmanuel, L. L. (1998). The Promise of a Good Death. Lancet, 351 (supp

    2), 21-29.

Kamar O. “Light and Death” Art therapy with a patient with Alzheimer's disease. (1997).

    American Journal of Art Therapy 35(4):118. Available from: EBSCO MegaFILE, Ipswich, MA.

    Accessed January 5, 2007.


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