Brown Social Science Center, 208
Health: Science, Society, and Policy
South Asian Studies
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
DegreesUniversity of Chicago, Ph.D.
University of Chicago, M.A.
Brown University, B.A.
ExpertiseSocial-cultural theory. Anthropology of aging. Gender and sexuality. Person and self. Medical anthropology. Immigrant and transnational communities. Understandings of Modernity. South Asia. South Asian Americans. US cultural-historical practices of aging.
ProfileSarah Lamb, Professor of Anthropology, is a cultural anthropologist who studies the ways people construct their social-cultural worlds and identities, particularly surrounding aging, gender, the body, family, and nation. She critically investigates everyday life practices and experiences, medical and legal discourses, and taken-for-granted assumptions, as a means to understand both how social-cultural worlds are made, and the nature of the particular forms of aging and gender (body, nation, etc.) that people believe in. After undergraduate training in religious studies at Brown University and graduate training in anthropology at the University of Chicago, she became a postdoctoral fellow in medical anthropology and sociocultural gerontology at the University of California-San Francisco. Her primary ethnographic research has been carried out in West Bengal, India and among Indian immigrants in the San Francisco and Boston areas of the United States. She is the author of White Saris and Sweet Mangoes: Aging, Gender and Body in India, co-editor (with Diane Mines) of Everyday Life in South Asia (1st and 2nd editions), and author of many other articles and book chapters. Her third book, Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad (2009), explores the ways middle class Indians--at home and in the U.S.--are reconfiguring aging as they confront, at once embracing and challenging, processes they associate with "modern," "Western," and "global" living. Lamb's current research examines unmarried women in India in the context of class mobilities and gendered personhoods. She is also investigating “successful aging" as a contemporary obsession and cultural-biopolitical project, prevailing in North America and with diverse instantiations around the globe. Her edited volume "Successful Aging? Global Perspectives on a Contemporary Obsession" is forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in 2017. Dr. Lamb teaches a range of courses, including "Contemporary Anthropological Theory," "Anthropology of Gender," "Aging in Cross-Cultural Perspective," "Global, Transnational and Diasporic Communities," "South Asian Cultures and Societies," "Anthropology of the Body," "Medicine, Body and Culture," "Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies," and a graduate "Gender and Sexuality Seminar." A firm believer in interdisciplinary approaches, Dr. Lamb serves on the steering committees for Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, South Asian Studies, the Program in Religious Studies, and Health: Science, Society and Policy. She is also a member of Brandeis's Lifespan Initiative on Healthy Aging. She lives with her spouse, two daughters and a dog, and for recreation enjoys running, hiking, cross-country skiing, backpacking, travel, gardening, and music.
|ANTH||1a||Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies|
|ANTH||95a||Anthropology Research Lab|
|ANTH||111a||Aging in Cross-Cultural Perspective|
|ANTH||144a||The Anthropology of Gender|
|ANTH||203b||Contemporary Anthropological Theory|
|ANTH||244a||Gender and Sexuality Seminar|
|ANTH||340d||Anthropology Graduate Proseminar|
|EL||42a||Sages and Seekers: A Fieldwork Practicum in Gender across Generations|
|EL||94a||Experiential Learning Practicum|
|WMGS||5a||Women, Genders, and Sexualities|
Awards and Honors
Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty Research (2013)
Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty Research (2012)
Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty Research (2010)
Theodore and Jane Norman Award for Faculty Scholarship (2008)
Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty Research (2007)
Laurie Faculty Scholar Research Fellowship (2006 - 2007)
Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship (2005 - 2006)
American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Short Term Research Fellowship (declined in favor of Fulbright-Hays) (2004)
CIES Fulbright Research Fellowship (declined in favor of Fulbright-Hays) (2004)
Marver and Sheva Bernstein Faculty Fellowship (1998 - 1999)
Louis, Frances and Jeffrey Sachar Fund (1997)
Michael L. Walzer '56 Award for Teaching (1997 - 1998)
Marc Galler Prize for finest doctoral dissertation, Division of Social Sciences, University of Chicago (1992 - 1993)
American Association for University Women American Fellowship (1991 - 1992)
American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research Fellowship (1989 - 1990)
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (1989 - 1990)
Wenner-Gren Foundation Predoctoral Grant (1989 - 1990)
American Institute of Indian Studies Language Training Fellowship (1985 - 1986)
First Prize Bishop McVickar Essay Contest (for honors thesis), Brown University (1982)
Lamb, Sarah, Jessica Robbins-Ruszkowski, and Anna Corwin. "Introduction: Successful Aging as a Contemporary Obsession." Successful Aging? Global Perspectives on a Contemporary Obsession. Ed. Sarah Lamb. Rutgers University Press, 2016 (forthcoming)
Lamb, Sarah, ed. Successful Aging? Global Perspectives on a Contemporary Obsession. Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016. (forthcoming)
Lamb, Sarah. "Ageless Aging or Meaningful Decline? Aspirations of Aging and Dying in the US and India." Successful Aging? Global Perspectives on a Contemporary Obsession. Ed. Sarah Lamb. Rutgers University Press, 2016 (forthcoming)
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, and where to Draw the Line, by Sharon R. Kaufman. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 2015: Online (print version forthcoming). (forthcoming)
Lamb, Sarah. "Beyond the View of the West: Ageing and Anthropology." Cultural Handbook of Gerontology. Ed. Twigg, Julia and Wendy Martin. Routledge, 2015. 37-44.
Lamb, Sarah. "Generation, in Anthropology." International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Second ed. 2015.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Ayya's Accounts: A Ledger of Hope in Modern India, by Anand Pandian. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies vol. 38 (3) 2015: 526-527.
Lamb, Sarah. "Traveling Institutions as Transnational Aging: The Old-Age Home as Idea and Practice in India." Transnational Aging: Current Insights and Future Challenges. Ed. Vincent Horn and Cornelia Schweppe. Routledge, 2015. 178-199.
Lamb, Sarah. "Permanent Personhood or Meaningful Decline? Toward a Critical Anthropology of Successful Aging." Journal of Aging Studies 29. April 2014 (2014): 41-52.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Maturing Masculinities: Aging, Chronic Illness, and Viagra in Mexico., by Emily Wentzell. Anthropology & Aging vol. 35 of 1-2 2014: 59-60.
Lamb, Sarah, Series Editor, ed. Rutgers University Press Book Series on Global Perspectives on Aging. Rutgers University Press, 2013.
Lamb, Sarah. "In/Dependence, Intergenerational Uncertainty and the Ambivalent State: Perceptions of Old Age Security in India." South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 36. 1 (2013): 65-78.
Lamb, Sarah. "Personhood, Appropriate Dependence, and the Rise of Elder-Care Institutions in India." Transitions and Transformations: Cultural Perspectives on the Life Course. Ed. Caitrin Lynch and Jason Danely. Berghahn, 2013. 171-187.
Lamb, Sarah. "Old Age." Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. 2012.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Being Indian, Being Israeli: Migration, Ethnicity and Gender in the Jewish Homeland, by Maina Chawla Singh. Israel Studies vol. 16 Summer 2011: 184-186.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity, and Class in India, by Raka Ray and Seemin Qayim. Contemporary Sociology vol. 40 2011: 738-739.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Pursuits of Happiness: Well-Being in Anthropological Perspective, by Gordon Matthews and Carolina Izquierdo. Journal of Anthropological Research vol. 66 2010: 574-575.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Rites of Spring: Gajan in Village Bengal, by Ralph Nicholas. History of Religions vol. 50 2011: 318-319.
Lamb, Sarah. "Ways of Aging." Companion to the Anthropology of India. Ed. Isabelle Clark-Deces. Malden, Mass.: Routledge, 2011. 500-516.
Lamb, Sarah. "Rethinking the Generation Gap: Age and Agency in Middle-Class Kolkata." Journal of Aging, Humanities and the Arts (JAHA) 4. 2 (2010): 83-97.
Mines, Diane and Sarah Lamb, ed. Everyday Life in South Asia. 2nd ed. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of In Amma's Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India, by Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger. Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft. vol. 4(2) 2009: 228-231.
Lamb, Sarah. Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2009.
Lamb, Sarah. "Elder Residences and Outsourced Sons: The Remaking of Aging in Cosmopolitan India." The Cultural Context of Aging: World-Wide Perspectives. 3rd ed. Ed. Jay Sokolovsky. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008. 418-440.
Lamb, Sarah. "The Remaking of Aging among Indian Americans." Indian Diaspora: Voices of Diasporic Elders in Five Countries. Ed. Mehta, Kalyani and Amarjit Singh. The Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 2008. 56-78.
Lamb, Sarah. "Beyond Thirdness." Rev. of With Respect to Sex, by Gayatri Redy. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies vol. 12 649-651.
Lamb, Sarah. "Lives Outside the Family: Gender and the Rise of Elder Residences in India." International Journal of the Sociology of the Family 33. 1 (2007): 43-61.
Lamb, Sarah. "Modern Families and Independent Living: Reflections on Contemporary Aging." Transformations in Contemporary Indian Families: Reading Literary and Cultural Texts. Ed. Sanjukta Dasgupta. New Delhi: Sage, 2007. 81-102.
Lamb,Sarah. "Aging Across Worlds: Modern Seniors in an Indian Diaspora." Generations and Globalization: Family, Youth, and Age in the New World Economy. Ed. Jennifer Cole and Deborah Durham. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007. 132-163.
Lamb, Sarah. "Critical Investigations of Age and Aging in the United States." American Anthropologist 107. 4 (2006): 705-714.
Lamb,Sarah. "Review. Seeking Bauls of Bengal, by Jeanne Openshaw." Rev. of Journal of Anthropological Research, vol. 60 2006: 579-581.
Lamb, Sarah. "Cultural and Moral Values Surrounding Care and (In)Dependence in Late Life: Reflections from India in an Era of Global Modernity." Journal of Long Term Home Health Care 6. 2 (2005): 80-89.
Lamb, Sarah. "India and Anthropology." Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 2005.
Lamb, Sarah. "McKim Marriott." Biographical Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology. 2005.
Lamb,Sarah. "Review, Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India, by Cecilia Van Hollen." Rev. of International Journal of Hindu Studies, vol. 9 2005
Lamb,Sarah. "The Politics of Dirt and Gender: Body Techniques in Bengali India." Dirt, Undress and Difference. Ed. Adeline Masquelier. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005. 350-383.
Lamb, Sarah. "Making and Unmaking of Persons: Gender and Body in Northeast India." Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective. 4th ed. Ed. Brettell, Caroline and Carolyn Sargent. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2004. 230-240.
Lamb,Sarah. "Aging and Families Across Worlds: Ambivalent Modernities In Kolkata and the U.S." Families: Journal of Representations 2 (2) & 3 (1). (2004): 45-61.
Lamb, Sarah. "Green Earrings: A Widow's Tale." Personal Encounters: A Reader in Cultural Anthropology. Ed. Walbridge, Linda S. and April K. Sievert. McGraw Hill, 2002. 63-66.
Lamb, Sarah. "Intimacy in a Transnational Era: The Remaking of Aging among Indian Americans." Diaspora: Journal of Transnational Studies 11. 3 (2002): 299-330.
Lamb, Sarah. "Love and Aging in Bengali Families." Everyday Life in South Asia. 1st ed. Ed. Mines, Diane and Sarah Lamb. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002. 56-68.
Mines, Diane and Sarah Lamb, ed. Everyday Life in South Asia. 1st ed. Indiana University Press, 2002.
Lamb, Sarah. "Being a Widow and Other Life Stories: The Interplay between Lives and Words." Anthropology and Humanism 26. 1 (2001): 16-34.
Lamb, Sarah. "Generation in Anthropology." International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2001.
Lamb,Sarah. White Saris and Sweet Mangoes: Aging, Gender and Body in North India. University of California Press, 2000.
Lamb, Sarah. "Aging, Gender and Widowhood: Perspectives from Rural West Bengal." Contributions to Indian Sociology 33. 3 (1999): 541-570.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of No Aging in India: Alzheimer's, the Bad Family and Other Modern Things, by Lawrence Cohen. Anthropological Quarterly vol. 72 of 3 1999: 139-40.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Body Thoughts, by Andrew Strathern. American Ethnologist vol. 25 of 3 1998: 509.
Lamb, Sarah. "Review." Rev. of Social Suffering, by Arthur Kleinman, Veena Das and Margaret Lock. American Ethnologist vol. 24 of 3 1997: 671-672.
Lamb, Sarah. "The Beggared Mother: Older Women's Narratives in West Bengal." Oral Tradition 12. i (1997): 54-75.
Lamb, Sarah. "The Making and Unmaking of Persons: Notes on Aging and Gender in North India." Ethos 25. 3 (1997): 279-302.