May 24, 2022

Anna Corwin: Embracing Age. How Catholic Nuns Became Models of Aging Well


The next talk in the online webi­nar series Unfold­ing Fini­tudes: Cur­rent Ethno­gra­phies of Aging, Dying and End-of-Life Care on Tues­day May 24, 2022, 17.00–18.30 CEST.

We would like to invite you to attend the next talk in the online webi­nar series Unfold­ing Fini­tudes: Cur­rent Ethno­gra­phies of Aging, Dying and End-of-Life Care on Tues­day May 24, 2022, 17.00–18.30 CEST.

We are very hap­py to announce that in this webi­nar Dr. Anna Cor­win (Saint Mary’s Col­lege of Cal­i­for­nia) will talk about her recent book Embrac­ing Age: How Catholic Nuns Became Mod­els of Aging Well. Dr. Kris­tine Krause (Uni­ver­si­ty of Ams­ter­dam) will act as dis­cus­sant for the talk.

Reg­is­tra­tion: If you would like to join the webi­nar, please reg­is­ter here. You will then receive the zoom-link for the webi­nar one week in advance.

NB: Please note that this webi­nar starts lat­er in the day than pre­vi­ous webi­na­rs in this series, name­ly at 17.00hrs CEST.

About the book

Embrac­ing Age: How Catholic Nuns Became Mod­els of Aging Well exam­ines a com­mu­ni­ty of indi­vid­u­als whose aging tra­jec­to­ries con­trast main­stream Amer­i­can expe­ri­ences. In main­stream Amer­i­can soci­ety, aging is pre­sent­ed as a “prob­lem,” a state to be avoid­ed as long as pos­si­ble, a state that threat­ens one’s abil­i­ty to main­tain inde­pen­dence, auton­o­my, con­trol over one’s sur­round­ings. Aging “well” (or avoid­ing aging) has become a twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry Amer­i­can pre­oc­cu­pa­tion. Embrac­ing Age pro­vides a win­dow into the every­day lives of Amer­i­can Catholic nuns who expe­ri­ence longevi­ty and remark­able health and well-being at the end of life. Catholic nuns aren’t only health­i­er in old­er age, they are health­i­er because they prac­tice a cul­ture of accep­tance and grace around aging. Embrac­ing Age demon­strates how aging in the con­vent becomes under­stood by the nuns to be a nat­ur­al part of the life course, not one to be feared or avoid­ed. Anna I. Cor­win shows read­ers how Catholic nuns cre­ate a cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty that pro­vides a mod­el for how to grow old, decline, and die that is both embed­ded in Amer­i­can cul­ture and quite dis­tinct from oth­er Amer­i­can models.

About Anna Corwin

Dr. Anna I. Cor­win is an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at Saint Mary’s Col­lege of Cal­i­for­nia. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA and is a recip­i­ent of fel­low­ships from the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and The Nation­al Endow­ment for the Human­i­ties for her research on aging and well-being.

About Unfold­ing Finitudes

The Euro­pean Research Coun­cil-fund­ed Glob­al­iz­ing Pal­lia­tive Care project at Lei­den Uni­ver­si­ty is host­ing a three-month­ly webi­nar series that high­lights cur­rent anthro­po­log­i­cal research on care, aging and dying. Dur­ing this series, invit­ed speak­ers present their recent or ongo­ing ethno­graph­ic work in this field. Our aim is to cre­ate a plat­form for dis­cus­sion of nov­el anthro­po­log­i­cal per­spec­tives on unfold­ing fini­tudes at the end of life.

We hope to see you in the webinar!

Best wish­es,

Natashe Lemos Dekker and Annemarie Samuels

Link to this event

May 24, 2022

Ruth Prince: Refiguring the Social? Health Insurance for the Poor in Kenya


Hybrid sem­i­nar on 24th May 2022 at 16:00–17:15bst as part of the LSHTM Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy series.

You can join in per­son at the Man­son Lec­ture The­atre in our Kep­pel Street build­ing in Lon­don, or join online in zoom webi­nar:



Across the globe, cur­rent moves towards Uni­ver­sal Health Cov­er­age (UHC) appear to extend ‘the social’. Reviv­ing a lan­guage of fair­ness and social jus­tice, sol­i­dar­i­ty and human rights, UHC promis­es to ensure access to qual­i­ty health­care for all ‘with­out finan­cial hard­ship’. In Africa, moves towards UHC involve exper­i­men­ta­tion with pro­gres­sive poli­cies of expand­ing state respon­si­bil­i­ty for health­care and social pro­tec­tion for cit­i­zens. How­ev­er, they also occur amidst con­tin­u­al expan­sion of pri­vate health­care and grow­ing social inequal­i­ty. Indeed, UHC can eas­i­ly be dis­missed as a stick­ing plas­ter solu­tion that mere­ly repro­duces neolib­er­al forms of gov­er­nance and health­care reform, offer­ing min­i­mal forms of finan­cial pro­tec­tion and health­care for tar­get­ed ben­e­fi­cia­ries such as ‘the poor’.

Our research aims to move beyond the impasse between endorse­ment and cri­tique to take seri­ous­ly the aspi­ra­tions and inter­pre­ta­tions of actors, and the trans­la­tions and fric­tions involved in moves towards expand­ing access to health care for ‘all’. In this vein, Pro­fes­sor Prince’s pre­sen­ta­tion will fol­low the Kenyan government’s recent attempts to expand health insur­ance for its cit­i­zens. She draws upon ethno­graph­ic research con­duct­ed in sev­er­al peri­ods from 2018 to the present with actors involved in the design and imple­men­ta­tion of these schemes, as well as with ordi­nary Kenyans strug­gling to access health­care. In doing so she explores rela­tions between pol­i­cy design and imple­men­ta­tion as actors strug­gle with a spec­trum of com­plex­i­ties, from locat­ing ‘the poor’ to dig­i­tal reg­is­tra­tion, to ensur­ing finan­cial flows and the deliv­ery of medicine.


Ruth Prince is Pro­fes­sor of Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo. She leads a Euro­pean Research Coun­cil Start­ing Grant project, ‘Uni­ver­sal Health Cov­er­age and the Pub­lic Good in Africa: Anthro­po­log­i­cal Per­spec­tives’, which explores rela­tions between health care, cit­i­zen­ship and the state, and between for­mal and infor­mal forms of wel­fare and social sol­i­dar­i­ty. She is cur­rent­ly study­ing Kenya’s exper­i­ments with uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age and health insur­ance mar­kets, social net­works of care, and class relations.

Link to this event