Aging in American Culture

Fall 2021: Monday and Wednesday 10:30am-11:45am

Durham Hall, Room 135

What does it mean to be old and who decides what old is?


How can a dialogue between movement and the environment shift our perceptions of time, spatial awareness, and age?


What kind of space can an older adult “take up” in American culture?


How does an intergenerational perspective on aging impact healthier possibilities in our built environment?


How does our interaction with the environment affect our embodied understanding of the aging process?


What does it mean to age in American culture?

American culture has become obsessed with a decline ideology of older age – an ideology emphasizing the social and cultural exclusion of people as they age. Yet, older adulthood is increasing a larger part of the life course. Indeed, the majority of the life-span could not be considered ‘older’ age. This Lab investigates what it means to age in American culture. Through examining our bodies and selves, it will encourage students to explore how our interaction with the environment affects our embodied understanding of the aging process.


  • Collaborators TBA

Impact Outcomes

Students in the Aging in American Culture Lab examined the environment, the body, and American culture to understand how space and perceptions of aging are intimately connected. Using creative interventions and interviews, students researched their local community's ideologies regarding aging to inform conclusions about how American culture can change to promote inclusivity and healthier attitudes toward aging.

View their impact outcomes HERE.

Age and Aging in the News

At the Humanities Lab, we strive to ensure our Labs are relevant and current. Here are some recent articles about age and aging in today’s news!

Why do our Bodies Age?
You’re Not Too Old to Talk to Someone
FDA Approves First Drug For A Rapid Aging Disorder In Children

Enrollment Information

Fall 2021: Monday and Wednesday 10:30am-11:45am and *Monday 9am-10:15am

Durham Hall, Room 135, Session C

Humanities Lab Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts
HUL 494 and 598 HDA 498 and 594
School of Social Transformation Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation
SST 494 & 598 HCR 494 and 598

*Lab time is for students to work on activities and assignments, especially skill-building and collaborative Lab projects. Contact faculty about required Lab times.


Instructional Team

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Faculty: Eileen Standley

School of Music, Dance & Theatre
Dance, Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Placemaking
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Faculty: Aaron Guest

Edson College
Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging

Aging, Environmental Gerontology and Health Equity
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Faculty: Mary Fitzgerald

School of Music, Dance & Theatre
Dance, Choreography & Performance

Instructional Team

Seize the Moment

This Lab is presented through Seize the Moment, an initiative of Leonardo, the Humanities Lab, and the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University. In an alarming syndemic of intersecting crises—the coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice and accompanying civil unrest, and cascading environmental hazards—Seize the Moment addresses the grand challenges of the day through transdisciplinary arts, science, technological, and humanities collaborations in research, pedagogy, and public engagement. To learn more, visit our website at

simple text logos for Leonardo, the Humanities Lab and the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University