Anthropology | The Meaning of Home: Current Topics in Aging Research and Practice
E600 | 0467 | Stafford


In the field of aging studies and practice the concept of home plays a
central role in defining what elders "need".  Professional care in the
home is taken to be preferable to institutional care.  When institutional
care is necessary, it tries to create "homelike" settings.  Yet, the
cultural concept of home has not been critically evaluated by those in
research or practice.  What is home exactly?  How does being at home
influence well being?  Can an institution actually be homelike?  Is home
equivalent to house?

These intriguing questions and more will be the central focus of a new
course designed for students interested in either research or practice in
the field of gerontology - the study of aging and old age.

Our approach will be collaborative; students will work together in small
teams to identify interests, develop research questions, and design
research programs with the goal of developing a "critical thinking"
approach to standard concepts and practices in the field.  We will be
interacting with a panel of elders along the way and collectively produce
a community exhibit of our work at the semester's end.

The Craft of Research, by Wayne C. Booth, will be the guiding text for
this course.  A packet of readings drawn from anthropology, sociology, and
the humanities will complement the text.  A short novel, Remembering, by
Wendell Berry, will provide an emotional baseline for the exploration
of the subject matter.