New Temporalities of Old Age (3/22/10; MLA 1/6/11-1/9/11, Los Angeles)

full name / name of organization: 
Cynthia Port / MLA
contact email: 

This proposed MLA special session investigates narratives of aging in the light of recent and emerging theories of temporality. Is there an "epistemology of old age"—a distinctive cognitive and expressive style—that might stand outside conventional articulations of temporality (as, perhaps, a counterpoint to the queer "epistemology of youth" theorized by Judith Halberstam)? How are narratives of aging illuminated by recent work on national, postcolonial, or global temporalities? How do literary and cultural conceptions of old age look different when read against the idealization of the child and focus on the future that Lee Edelman calls "reproductive futurism"? In what ways can cognitive approaches to temporality, such as research on why time seems to speed up as one ages, inform our understanding of narratives of old age? Has the "compression" of space and time through technological advances affected how we might tell the story of later life? Any approach to the question of temporality and any narrative(s) of older age will be considered.

Please send 1-page abstract by March 22 to Cynthia Port: