Hilary Term 2020 Seminar Series ‘The Construction of Ageing’

The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, Oxford’s Humanities and Healthcare programme and the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life are co-hosting a seminar series on The Construction of Ageing to take place in Hilary term 2020.

While ageing is often considered a biological process, what it means to be young or old, youthful or elderly, is inevitably socially constructed. This suggests that there is no universal meaning to the biological processes of ageing. Accordingly, it is important to examine assumptions that surround the various ways that ageing and ageing persons are and have been conceptualised and discussed. In this seminar, such matters will be illumined by a range of disciplinary voices from the humanities and social sciences: theologians and philosophers examining the ethical significance and practical import of ageing as a feature of the human condition, artists reflecting on the portrayal of aged bodies, social scientists illuminating the social construction of retirement and ageism, historians and classicists considering how ageing has been represented over time. It is anticipated that the interaction of these interdisciplinary perspectives will provide a critical vantage point on how policy interventions impact the experiences of ageing persons in the specific contexts in which they live and, more generally, the possibility of flourishing in later life.

Bearing the burdens we (don’t) bare: A theological reflection on carrying the weight of ageing
Yes Yes No: Sculpture, Dance, Choreography and What Age Brings
Memory, Meaning and Human Identity: The place of theology in constructing the purpose of age in the light of dementia?
The body as an ageing thing
Monkey Glands and Moisturisers: Anti-ageing in Modern Britain
What can knowledge of History contribute to current understandings of ageing and old age?
Art, ageing and policy
On the Need to Stay Human: Simone de Beauvoir’s Philosophy of Age