Old age and radical history: Editors’ introduction

Amanda Ciafone, Devin McGeehan Muchmore

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This essay introduces readers to key themes in critical gerontology and age studies and asserts their centrality to contemporary history and politics. Age scholars and critical gerontologists push back against perspectives that individualize and medicalize old age as a natural or universal stage in a singular life course explained solely by biology, psychology, or personal choices. Instead, they challenge us to see contemporary life stages and even chronological age itself as historically and culturally specific structures. The contributions in this issue demonstrate the power of this approach, exploring histories of later life in the context of slave societies, retirement, social movements, and gendered embodiment. Together, contributors model a radical history of old age that centers power, historical struggle, and linked lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalRadical History Review
Issue number139
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Aging
  • COVID-19
  • Critical gerontology
  • Historical gerontology
  • Old age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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