University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Susan Eisenhandler

EisenhandlerSusan A. Eisenhandler, Ph.D.,
of Connecticut, Department of Sociology

Department of Sociology, UCONN, 99 East Main Street, Waterbury, CT 06702

University Phone: 203-236-9854; e-mail:




Eisenhandler, Susan A. – Keeping the Faith in Late Life, New York, Springer, 2003.

Thomas, L. Eugene and Eisenhandler, Susan A. (Eds.) – Religion, Belief, and Spirituality in Late Life, New York, Springer, 1999.

Thomas, L. Eugene and Eisenhandler, Susan A. (Eds.) – Aging and the Religious Dimension, Westport, Connecticut, Auburn, 1994.

Advanced Study

2007 Seminary Seminar for University Faculty, The Holocaust and the Christian Churches: Teaching this History Today, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D. C., May 21-25.

2005 Silberman Seminar for University Faculty, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., June 8-17.


Present Field Research

Third year of qualitative field research on relationship between daily activity and quality of life among older adults in a small retirement complex.

Articles and Chapters

Forthcoming, “The Rose and the Thorn: Some Ethical Dilemmas in a Qualitative Study of Older Adults.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging.

“ ‘Religion Is the Finding Thing’ ”: An Evolving Spirituality in Late Life. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 45, Haworth Press, October 2005.

“The Arts of Consolation: Commemoration and Folkways of Faith.” Generations, 28, Summer 2004.

Reprint made available in April 2005 as a Digital Download from Amazon.Com
Osgood, Nancy J. and Susan A. Eisenhandler. “Gender and Assisted and Acquiescent Suicide: A Suicidologist’s Perspective.” Issues in Law and Medicine 9: 361-374, 1994.


International Conference Presentations                                                                                   

Using Film to Teach the Holocaust: A Way to Bridge Generations. Workshop for 4th International Conference: Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel, 27 June 2006.

“Faint Echoes of the Holocaust: ‘Something I remember my grandparents talking about when I was young.’ ”Tenth International Holocaust Conference, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, 27 December 2001.

“Secular Sources and Spiritual Concerns: Ideas about Social Justice and Transcendent Meaning Evoked in Reading and Interaction.” The Second Global Conference on Aging. International Federation on Ageing, Jerusalem, Israel, 19 September 1995.


National Conference Presentations

Strands of Convergence: Highlights from Fifteen Years in the Life of a Retirement Community. Susan A. Eisenhandler, Evelyn Fish Rowley, and Gina P. Docchio, Poster, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Baltimore, Maryland, 22 February 2008.

‘Door-Yard Pilgrims’: Gardening as a Spiritual Dimension and Marker of Well-Being in Old Age. Poster, Gerontological Society of America, San Francisco, 19 November 2007.

“All Seasons Shall Be Sweet: “ Gardening as a Source of Transcendent Meaning.Association for the Sociology of Religion, New York City, 11 August 2007.

The Meaning of Green: Transforming Self and Space. Poster, Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging, Chicago, 8 March 2007.

The Rose and the Thorn: Ethical Dilemmas in a Qualitative Study of Older Adults. Paper for Symposium, Attending to Diversity in Spirituality and Religion in Gerontological Research, Gerontological Society of America meetings, Dallas, Texas, 19 November 2006.

Small and Mighty: The Power of Insight and Knowledge Educed from Qualitative Methodology, Paper for Symposium, Being Qualitative in a Quantitative World, Gerontological Society of America meetings, Dallas, Texas, 17 November 2006.

Spiritual Dimensions of Everyday Life: Perspectives from Elders. Association for the Sociology of Religion, Montreal, Canada, 11 August 2006.

Ideas, Visions, and Space: Establishing a Residential Community for Older Adults. Susan A. Eisenhandler and Gina P. Docchio, Poster Session, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Indianapolis, Indiana, 11 February 2006.

Age Relations and Religio-ethnic Traditions: Saints and Snowboards. Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, Florida, 19 November 2005.

Family and Religious Ties among Elders from Non-western Traditions. Aging and Life Course Section Refereed Roundtable, American Sociological Association, Philadelphia, 14 August 2005.

Religio-ethnic Socialization as Social Capital: Experiences of Older Adults from Non-western Traditions. Association for the Sociology of Religion, Philadelphia, 13 August 2005.

“Rosary Beads Are Not Ouija Boards”: Older Adults Define Religion and Spirituality. Paper session of Religiosity and Spirituality, Gerontological Society of America, Washington, D.C., 22 November 2004.


Other Recent Professional Service and Scholarly Activity

Co-chair of Service and Remembrance Committee UConn Waterbury Campus. Programs Organized: Understanding Darfur with guest speaker Deacon Arthur Miller, April 2, 2008; and, Remembering the Holocaust, April 16, 2008 with guest speakers, Anita Schorr and Stephen Herz.

Member, Fichter Grant Committee, Association for the Sociology of Religion, 2007-2009.

Focus Groups as Qualitative Research – Uses and Misuses.Moderator for Symposium,Gerontological Society of America, San Francisco, 20 November 2007.

Religious Agency, Creating Identities, and Balancing Communities. Convener of Paper Session. Association for the Sociology of Religion, New York City, 11 August 2007.

Religion and Faith in the Aging Experience. Lunch and Learn Program, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Waterbury, CT, 4 May 2007.

Religion and Late Life. Talk and discussion. First Congregational Church of Waterbury, Waterbury, CT, 1 February 2006.

Convener, Paper Session, “Religion and Adolescents,” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Rochester, New York, 4 November 2005.

Generational Status and Knowledge about the Holocaust. Faculty Forum Lecture Series, The Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, Dodd Research Center, UCONN, Storrs, 10 November 2004.


Community Outreach

 Fifteen Year Anniversary: Life in One Connecticut Retirement Community: Morris, CT, 13 May 2008.

Community: Photos of Kahehtiyo and Ein Gedi. Morris, CT, 19 January 2007.

The Glory of the Garden. PowerPoint Slide Show and Discussion, Morris, CT, 20 January 2006.


Current Membership in Professional Societies and Organizations

American Sociological Association

Association for Anthropology and Gerontology

Association for the Sociology of Religion

Communal Studies Association

Gerontological Society of America

Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

Society for Utopian Studies


Noteworthy Administrative Positions

6/2000 – 8/2001             Director, Tri-Campus Urban and Community Studies Program, University of Connecticut

8/1997 – 1/1999             Acting Director of the University of Connecticut Waterbury Regional Campus


Significant Teaching Contributions

Created new undergraduate sociology courses: Communities (1997) and Interaction and the Conduct of Social Research (2004).

The Communities class features a field trip to Hancock Shaker Village, a former intentional community, now a lively setting for understanding the enduring social and cultural contributions made by the Shakers. A photo from the September 2007 field trip is found below.