Aging, Disability and Health in Socialist Europe and Beyond

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WORKSHOP
March 26 & April 2, 2021

The history of old age is a growing field of inquiry, yet scholars have mostly examined aging in the context of Western capitalist societies. This workshop hopes to bring together a number of early career academics and graduate students to discuss their research on old age under socialism. There has been a great deal of interest, in recent years, in how socialist societies imagined gender, healthcare, and the family. This is granting us a much fuller picture of these societies than was possible during the Cold War itself, when analysis focused squarely on themes of political oppression and resistance. Some of these societies, for instance in Eastern and Central Europe, were, demographically, quite old, often because many young people had been killed in war or had fled to the West. Others, such as China and Vietnam, were a demographic transition that entailed lower birth rates and higher life expectancy. And yet we know next to nothing about the socialist style of aging: the imagination of age, and the policy apparatus. This seems like an especially important research field, just now, given that societies all over the world will be tasked with reimagining old age in the twenty-first century.

REGISTER HERE

Friday, March 26, 2021

11:00 - 11:20 am

 

Opening Remarks
Alissa Klots, University of Pittsburgh
James Chappel, Duke University

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
 

Living and Dying for Communism: Soviet Activists Cope with Aging, Illness and Death

 

SPEAKERS:
Maria Romashova, Perm State University
Alissa Klots, University of Pittsburgh

DISCUSSANT:
Lynn Botelho, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

12:30 - 12:45 pm

Break

12:45 - 1:45 pm
 

A Long Life Will Be the Soviet Victory: The Turn to a Socialist Old Age and Development of Gerontology, 1928-1944

 

SPEAKER:
Danielle Leavitt-Quist, Harvard University

DISCUSSANT:
Wendy Goldman, Carnegie Mellon University

2:00-3:30 pm

Keynote Interview: Disability under Socialism: To be Seen, Helped, and Heard

 

SPEAKERS:
Maria Cristina GalmariniCollege of William and Mary

Sean Guillory, University of Pittsburgh

 

Friday, April 2, 2021

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
 

Learning, Contributing, and Proving Capacity: The Meaning of International Work for the East German Union of the Blind

 

SPEAKER:
Maria Cristina Galmarini, College of William and Mary

DISCUSSANT:
Gregor Thum, University of Pittsburgh

12:00 - 12:15 pm

Break

12:15 - 1:15 pm
 

Connecting Three Worlds: Socialism, Medicine and Global Health After World War II

 

SPEAKER:
Dora Vargha, University of Exeter

DISCUSSANT:
Mari Webel, University of Pittsburgh

1:20 - 2:00 pm

Concluding Remarks and Discussion