The introduction lays out the overall goals of this volume, which are: to demonstrate how and why particular ages—such as sixteen, eighteen, and sixty-five—have come to define rights, cultural expectations, and self-understandings; to demonstrate that while age and aging have mattered throughout American history, reliance on age intensified in the late nineteenth century; and to encourage a more rigorous engagement with age as a category of identity. The editors argue that age is both a biological reality and a social construction, and they insist that age always intersects with other categories such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality.
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