Having studied social sciences and philosophy at the universities of Amsterdam, Berkeley (USA) and Bielefeld (Germany) Jan Baars has been teaching Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the Humanities at different universities since 1970. This has formed the academic background of his perspective on aging studies, which has been one of his areas of study since 1986. This has led to his appointment as Professor of Aging in a Life Course Perspective, especially Interpretive Gerontology, at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The qualification Interpretive Gerontology implies that this appointment is not meant to enlarge the already vast research on health problems of the aged, on the costs of their pensions or the most efficient organization of care. It is intended to analyze basic concepts and to reflect on the more implicit ideas or cultural scripts behind theoretical and practical approaches to aging and to explore inspiring horizons for contemporary aging.
Jan is primarily interested in social or societal issues which he approaches from his twofold background in social sciences and philosophy. He studied Social Sciences (MA Free University, Amsterdam, cum laude) and Philosophy in Bielefeld (with Niklas Luhmann), Berkeley and Amsterdam (MA, cum laude, followed by a doctoral dissertation about Critical Theory: Adorno, Horkheimer and Habermas). His academic positions include (Assistant) Professor for Sociological Theory, its History and Philosophical Backgrounds (1970-1995); (Associate) Professor for Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the Humanities at Tilburg University (1995-2012) and Professor of Interpretive Gerontology at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht (2001-present).
He is the author or many publications on aging, ranging from conceptual analysis to polemic criticism and more reflective existential perspectives. He has given Master classes at universities in Europe, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa.
- Keynote Lecturer at World Congress International Association for Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) , San Francisco 2017
- Keynote Lecturer at European Congress International Association for Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), Dublin 2015
- Keynote Lecturer Conference European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS), Maastricht, the Netherlands, October 2011.
- Fellow – Academician of the Academy of Social Science (UK)
- Recipient Social Gerontology Theory Award, Gerontological Society of America
- Fellow Gerontological Society of America
- Member of the international SAMKUL project, led by the University of Bergen, Norway
His functions include:
- Past Chair of Humanities and Arts Committee of the Gerontological Society of America
- Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America
- Member of the British Society of Gerontology
- Member of the editorial boards of several journals
- Member of national and international audit committees to assess and advice about scientific research
Jan Baars is listed in Who's Who in the World? ☺
Looking back at my work – so far – from an age of non-retirement