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Release: July 12, 1999

UI Obermann Center seminar on late life, aging issues is July 19-30

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- While aging is generally viewed as changes in the body and mind over time, how we interpret and understand those changes is influenced by a variety of cultural, scientific, personal and social factors. An upcoming University of Iowa seminar will focus on issues surrounding our perceptions of who -- and what -- is "old."

"Late Life: Representations, Perceptions, Possibilities" will be July 19-30 at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies on the UI Oakdale Research Campus. The seminar will bring together researchers and scholars in the basic sciences, medicine, social sciences, arts, humanities, film and popular culture to discuss how assumptions about aging affect the types of work produced in these disciplines. Participants also will discuss ways in which interdisciplinary collaboration might lead to new questions, methods and contributions to the study of aging.

Seminar presenters from around the United States, as well as Australia and Canada, will cover a wide range of topics, including the biology of aging, women and late life, aging and the theater, social networks and life satisfaction among older adults, and aging in Japan.

Two public lectures are planned as part of the seminar. On Wednesday, July 21, at 3:30 p.m. May L. Wykle, professor and associate dean for community affairs at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, will deliver a lecture entitled, "Increasing the Longevity of Minority Older Adults." Wykle's presentation, followed by a reception, will be in Room 133 of the Nursing Building.

On Monday, July 26, at 3:30 p.m. Gene Cohen, professor of psychiatry and director of the Center on Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., will discuss "Aging and Creativity" in the Seebohm Conference Room, 283 Eckstein Medical Education Building. A reception will follow.

In addition, the public is invited to a free screening of the film, "Andre's Lives" at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 24, in Room 101 of the Becker Communications Studies Building on the UI campus. Film and video director Brad Lichtenstein will be on hand to introduce and discuss his documentary, which premiered in January at the New York Jewish Film Festival. The film follows an elderly Jewish American's return to Europe, along with his sons, to retrace the path his life has taken.

Since 1990 the Obermann Center has hosted its summer research seminar series, bringing together scholars from different disciplines to explore and discuss a broad range of topics -- from the effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the impact today of the Spanish-American War.

"The seminars have enabled world-renowned researchers to sample the intellectual, culinary and cultural riches of Iowa, to share their work, and to produce important collaborative publications," noted Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center.

The "Late Life" seminar is supported by the C. Esco and Avalon L. Obermann Fund, the UI Office of the Vice President for Research, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and by the following UI organizations: the Aging Studies Program, the Center on Aging, the department of English, the Geriatric Education Center, the Gerontological Area of the UI College of Nursing, the Graduate College, the Institute for Cinema and Culture, International Programs, the Office of the Provost, the department of psychiatry, the Stanley-UI Support Organization, and the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For a complete listing of seminar speakers and their presentations, contact the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at (319) 335-4034.