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Aging & Society


Admission requirements

One 100-level and one 200-level course in the track Health and Development, preferably Health Systems Mangement or Social Determinants of Health, and Medical Anthropology. One 200 level course in the track Health and Policy.


Both in the Global North and in the Global South populations are rapidly aging. Lower fertility as a result of societal changes worldwide and increasing life-expectancy as a result of medical innovation, keep many people alive for long. These demographic shifts pose challenging questions to as to what long-term care systems should look like, what the role of informal care networks is and should be. Or in other words: institutions developed around aging come with values around aging and elderly people and these institutions in turn shape cultural and societal perceptions about aging, care and the older body. This course addresses these themes through an interdisciplinary perspective drawing on demography, anthropology, social policy and gerontology. It examines how policies, politics and initiatives aimed to address population aging, resonate in everyday care practices. The course addresses population aging globally, using case-studies from Japan, Mexico, Poland, India, Italy and The Netherlands. Students will work (in pairs or small groups, but with individual assignments) on an integrative country project, whereby they apply the literature and theory to analyze a case-study of aging in a specific city in this country. They use this report to write a digital story which will become part of a collection of digital stories around global aging. Part of the course is also experiential learning inasfar as this is possible through online methodologies.

Course Objectives


  • Students can analyse the relationship between the formal institutions around old age care in a particular society and societal ideas about aging and care in that society

  • Students can critically compare and contrast articles and compile these in an argument relevant for a specific society and situate the debates in particular ideological stances


  • Students learn how to translate situated knowledge from individual older people to broader debates on aging.

  • Students learn how to create output that is relevant and engaging to specific publics (policy makers, general public, older participants) in the particular country/city.

  • Students will in collaboration with teacher, trial digital techniques for experiential learning.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

  • This class runs as seminar which combines plenary lectures with intensive discussion about literature.

  • The course will be taught remotely but students will be able to meet in-class for offline working groups with remote supervision.

  • As older people are one of the COVID-19 risk groups, the experiential learning element of the course will pilot digital technologies for engagement.

Assessment Method

  • Novel and Reflection exercise: 15%

  • Group exercise: 25%

  • Digital partnership: 30%

  • Digital story: 30%

Please note:
In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework. There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.

Reading list

  • Lamb, S. (2017) Successful Aging as a contemporary obsession. Global Perspectives. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press

  • A novel on aging, TBA

  • A selection of articles

A reading list will be made available a week before the course commences


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Josien de Klerk,