Conference on Ageing


Interdisciplinary Conference 30 and 31 January 2015

University of Bergen (Norway)


The Research group "Literature and Science" invites scholars of literature, the arts, and the medical humanities, as well as philosophers, cultural historians, historians of religion, sociologists, and anthropologists to explore the symbolic aspects of ageing and late life in social, cultural, and personal contexts. Drawing upon interdisciplinary studies of literature and medicine, we believe an approach to old age rooted in the humanities, could interact with gerontology and pursue goals that are significant not only for gerontology’s interest groups. Ageing is particularly relevant to the humanities and the social sciences because it represents both a fundamental dimension of human existence and a marginalised existential mode. It is a prerequisite for understanding human temporality and for addressing the construction and dissolution of identity, language, and meaning. As a persistent taboo it represents a psychological blind spot, a sphere of denial and oblivion awaiting recognition and analysis. Reformulating the insight of Susan Sontag’s essay "Illness as Metaphor", we see the need of liberation from stereotypes in order to acknowledge our second citizenship in the kingdom of the old. But it is also the humanities' task to restore and reinterpret formative myths, metaphors, and narratives, and thus enrich the figurative reservoirs on which modern individuals continue to model their selves.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Jan Baars
, Professor of interpretative gerontology (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht)

Martine Boyer-Weinmann, Professor of modern and classical literature (Université Lumière-Lyon 2)

George Rousseau, Professor of cultural history (University of Oxford)

For further information please see website:

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