Editor’s Note: Issue 17.2

This pamphlet, an advertisement for Shaker Extract of Roots, explains that “old age is unlovely” and juxtaposes young and older visions of individuals. The pamphlet (ca. 1890) promises that Shaker Extract of Roots will counteract the physical signs of aging. Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

At a moment when Americans are deeply divided about the role of care, and the obligations we owe to those who need it, Common-place brings together a group of scholars whose work asks us to think about how age and illness have shaped the possibilities for individual and communal identity. These essays include explorations of how dependence evokes state interference ranging from a penal institution to an old age home, and questions about how illness and youth, and the vulnerabilities that accompany them, can shift or reinforce prejudices.


This article originally appeared in issue 17.2 (Winter, 2017).

Anna Mae Duane (Associate Professor of English and American Studies, University of Connecticut) and Walter Woodward (Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut) are co-editors of Common-place.