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This four-day conference will focus on the interconnectedness of aging and cultural heritage in terms of cultural narratives and representations. How can processes and strategies of identity construction over the life course be identified in regard to narratives, rituals, popular media forms and other forms of cultural expression, and how do they influence both collective and individual cultural heritage narratives? Which methodologies can be developed for interdisciplinary and intersectional research in this context?

Contributions will engage with narratives and representations of the life course, and discuss how biographical reflections are positioned within a matrix of time, space and experience; they will consider the uses and production of ‘heritage’ in this matrix. Papers will focus on continuities and discontinuities of both individual and collective identities as reflected in cultural narratives, processes and strategies of representations of age and aging. One important aim of the conference will be to link different research approaches and theories in order to strengthen an interdisciplinary approach to the emerging fields known as Age/Aging Studies and Cultural Gerontology. The goal will be to re-conceptualize traditional discipline specific approaches and develop new tools and methodologies addressing the issues of later life.

Cultural gerontology reveals and dissects culturally-determined perceptions, attitudes and effects of human aging that are not accentuated within other disciplinary approaches. The term ‘culture’ does not entail ignoring economic, social, political and other impacts on aging, rather it invites explorations of the dynamics that exist among them so that the study of culture – with its multiplicity of forms – enhances our interrogation of both individual and social choices and constraints connected with aging. It also explores, for example, the cultural means that can help people and groups to respond to the pressures and opportunities they encounter as they age. It analyzes a heritage of expectations and practices that can help aging adults to exercise power and resist it, to confront obstacles or sometimes to create them, and to make their lives meaningful both to themselves and to others. The arts, humanities and social sciences thus have a fundamental role to play in the study of human aging and form an invaluable complement to other areas of gerontological research.

The conference will thus present research into the process of age and aging in its diverse cultural and social manifestations. It will promote discussion of the human aging process from both interdisciplinary and disciplinary perspectives, including those of anthropology, economics, heritage, history, language and literature, the study of the (mass) media, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, and sociology. In particular, it will welcome research that investigates the different concepts and methods used in multiple disciplines as they attempt to respond to the challenges of aging.

CinemAGEnder panel:


Nathalie Bödicker Women’s Aging in a Rural Non-heterosexual Context: Born to Suffer (Spain, 2009)

Raquel Medina Aging, Lesbianism and Heteronormativity in the Basque Film 80 Egunean (2010)

Hernando Gómez Prada Transparent and the Cathodic Subversive Aging

More information here:

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