Unfolding Finitudes:
Current Ethnographies of Aging,
Dying and End-of-Life Care


The 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.

Jason Danely

Based on his research gathering stories of family carers in Japan and England, Jason Danely traces how care transforms individual sensibilities and the roles of cultural narratives and imagination in shaping these transformations, which persist even after the care recipient has died. Fragile Resonance: Caring for Older Family Members in Japan and England describes the paths carers take as they make meaning of their experiences and find a sense of moral purpose to sustain them and guide their decisions. When a parent or partner becomes frail or disabled, often a family member assumes responsibility for their care. But family care is a physically and emotionally exhausting undertaking. Carers experience moments of profound connection as well as pain and grief. Carers ask themselves questions about the meaning of family, their entitlement to support, and their capacity to understand and sympathize with another person’s pain.

Throughout Fragile Resonance, Danely examines the implications of unpaid carer’s experiences for challenging and enhancing social policies and institutions, highlighting innovative alternatives grounded in the practical ethics of care.

Previous Unfolding Finitudes speakers

Megha Amrith Victoria K. Sakti
Dora Sampaio
H. Kaur Gill
Alfonso Otaegui

Aspiring in Later Life: Movements across Time, Space and Generations.



Documenting Death: Maternal Mortality and the Ethics of Care in Tanzania


Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland: Memory, Kinship, and Personhood


Making Meaningful Lives: Tales from an Aging Japan 


Dwaipayan Banerjee

Enduring Cancer: Life, Death, and Diagnosis in Delhi


The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand


Embracing Age: How Catholic Nuns Became Models of Aging Well 

Mara Buchbinder

Scripting Death: Stories of Assisted Dying in America.