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This essay introduces readers to key themes in critical gerontology and age studies and asserts their centrality to contemporary history and politics. Age scholars and critical gerontologists push back against perspectives that individualize and medicalize old age as a natural or universal stage in a singular life course explained solely by biology, psychology, or personal choices. Instead, they challenge us to see contemporary life stages and even chronological age itself as historically anddoi:10.1215/01636545-8822566 fatcat:e7tni3fngbevtfwaipjrboycqi