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Aging, Old Age, Memory, and Aesthetics

Aging, Old Age, Memory, and Aesthetics
JHB 100a
Time: Mar 25th, 9:00 am End: Mar 27th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women/Gender, Urban, Sociology (FAS), Science/Technology, Religion, Study of (FAS), Psychology, Psychoanalytic, Psychiatry, Philosophy (UTSC), Philosophy (UTM), Philosophy (FAS), Information, Faculty of, History (FAS), History & Philosophy of Science & Technology (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), English and Drama (UTM), English (UTSC), English (FAS), Critical Theory, Comparative Literature (FAS), Communications, Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Art (FAS), Architecture, Landscape, Design, Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
An Interdisciplinary Conference

The Jackman Humanities Institute Working Group on Aging is pleased to present:

Aging, Old Age, Memory, Aesthetics:  An Interdisciplinary Conference


Keynote Speakers:

  • Kathleen Woodward (English; Director, Simpson Center for the Humanities, Washington)
  • Stephen Katz (Sociology; Trent)
  • Philip Sohm (Art History, Toronto)
  • Ian Lancashire (English, Toronto)
  • Linda and Michael Hutcheon (English and Comparative Literature / Medicine, Toronto)

Download flyer here

Download programme here

For details and registration, please see the conference Website

This interdisciplinary symposium aims to stimulate scholarly discussions of the construction of identity beyond the familiar triptych of gender, race, and class, to include what Simone de Beauvoir saw as the unspoken (and thus untheorized) form of “difference.” A consideration of aging and old age and their relation to memory and aesthetics is particularly timely, especially given current understandings of the modern and postmodern self as a melding of memory and will—understandings that have led to profound emphases on disorders of consciousness such as multiple or split personality and traumatic memory loss. Viewed in this light, the lack of critical attention paid to the complex cultural meanings of aging, old age, and memory loss associated with getting older across all historical periods is a surprising oversight.

There is, of course, a long history of thinking about the meaning of old age and the aging artist in particular. In using the term aesthetics, we are drawing attention to the arts, aesthetic practices, theories of art, and modes of representation as they pertain to aging and memory. Do aging and memory loss—benevolent or pathological—signal the individual’s and the artist’s inevitable decline or do they, on the contrary, offer spaces for reinvention and transformation? What do we mean exactly when we speak of an artist’s “late style”? What are the prevailing representations of and theories about old age, memory, and aesthetics, ranging as they do from classical and religious models to contemporary research on neuroplasticity? How have these portrayals and theories changed in the light of contemporary research and technologies relating to anatomy and brain functioning?  Since we are aging from the moment we are born, what can we learn from the varied use of the term at specific cultural moments? We look forward to presentations that analyze a variety of theoretical, thematic, and disciplinary approaches that remain linked by the consistent placement of old age and aging at the centre of concentrated investigation.

Questions? Contact Andrea Charise

Co-sponsored with the generous support of:

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