As part of its ongoing Public Health Series, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai invites you to a presentation on the politics of aging, featuring Professor Kavita Sivaramkrishnan from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. The aging of populations worldwide is being projected as a 'grey Tsunami' and socio-economic crisis. Just as fears of a 'population explosion' in the 1980s revealed a concern about too many dependent children on the planet to feed; population aging is projected as the burden of caring for large numbers of dependent, aged persons. For non-western societies like India, where life expectancy has increased over a few decades, longevity was traditionally considered a mark of progress, and of successful public health and welfare provisions; it is now being viewed as a challenge, even 'peril’ for a growing economy.
Based on her new book, As the World Ages: The Making of a Demographic Crisis, Dr. Sivaramakrishnan’s presentation will challenge these assumptions from a historical and policy perspective, and explore a recent history of how old age and aging populations began to be defined, represented and projected by researchers and international experts in the West and at the United Nations. She will discuss how Western gerontological knowledge and practices have circulated and been recast by local experts and activists in India and parts of the Global South. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion, featuring leading experts in the field of Gerontology, Dr. Mohan Rao and Dr. Perianayagam Arokiasamy. The panel will address challenges that lie ahead, and how we can shape aging in our societies and make it meaningful through local priorities, norms, and experiences.
About the Speakers:
Dr. Kavita Sivaramakrishnan is Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and History, Mailman School of Public Health, and Interim Co-Director, Robert N. Butler, Columbia Aging Center, Columbia University. She is a public health historian of South Asia, focusing on the politics of health, medicine and science in the global South. Her research traces the transformation of bodies, metabolisms and minds in South Asia over the past century that have redrawn the map of South Asia’s epidemiological and social history. Her most recent research is on the global politics of aging, and her new book is titled, As the World Ages: Rethinking a Demographic Crisis (Harvard University Press, 2018). Prior to joining Columbia University, she was a David Bell Research Fellow at the Center for Population Studies and Development Studies at Harvard University.
Dr. Mohan Rao retired as a Professor from the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is a medical doctor, specializing in public health. He works on health and population policy, and the history and politics of health. His publications include From Population Control to Reproductive Health: Malthusian Arithmetic (2004) andThe Unheard Scream: Reproductive Health and Women's Lives in India (edited, 2004).
Dr. Perianayagam Arokiasamy is the Professor and Head, Department of Development Studies, at the International Institute of Population Sciences. He is the Principal Investigator of the project Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI). He has been an advisor to organizations such as the World Health Organization, Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and many more.