CFP: 'What is Old Age? New Perspectives from the Humanities', Feb 23rd 2013 [CFP deadline: 23rd Nov]

full name / name of organization: 
Emily Andrews - University of Warwick

CFP: What is Old Age? New Perspectives from the Humanities

This one-day conference will draw on the expertise of scholars from across the humanities to offer new perspectives on the ways in which we define and explain old age. How do we know when someone is old? How do we think they got that way? A simple question – 'What is old age?' – is offered as the stimulus for all participants. The key objective of the day will be to gather a range of responses to this question and to explore the range of responses to it that have appeared in different times and places. It will show how the approaches, methodologies and sources used by scholars in the humanities might produce particularly productive or surprising answers to this question.

The second objective concerns the broader issue of interdisciplinarity. The study of old age is one of the most well-established interdisciplinary fields of study in modern academia, under the guise of gerontology. Yet the humanities have been notably absent from these enquiries. This conference will, hopefully, show what the humanities might have to offer to the gerontological endeavour, but also will consider whether a closer relationship between these fields would indeed be productive and desirable.

20-minute papers are invited in response to these issues. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

- Representations of old age/ageing in different times and places
- Concepts of age/ageing; explanations of the ageing process
- Aged subjectivities
- The aged body/embodied ageing
- The material consequences of old age
- The role of the humanities within the interdisciplinary project of gerontology

Shorter, 10-minute papers are also invited, offering a direct response to, or series of reflections on, the question 'What is old age?'

The keynote speakers will be Professor Helen Small, of Pembroke College, Oxford, and Professor Pat Thane of Kings College London.

Further information, and a more informal collection of responses to these issues, can be found at

The conference will take place on Saturday 23rd February 2013, at the University of Warwick.

Please submit abstracts of max 200 words to
by 23rd November 2012.