Call for Papers: Facing the Challenges of Aging and Dying

The Meisel Humanities Centre and the Department of French Studies at Queen’s University are proud to host an interdisciplinary conference involving the Arts, Humanities and Health Care Professions and Disciplines on October 16-18, 2015.

As a society whose aging population is steadily increasing, many believe that we are ill-prepared for the challenges that await us. Whereas in the past people used to die at home, surrounded by family, today most people age and die in isolation under the care of retirement homes and/or hospitals. As a result, aging and dying are no longer part of the average individual’s everyday reality. Many concerned by this have pointed out that we are a society which, for the most part, lives in fear of aging; a society that does its best to deny the inevitable reality of aging and death, preferring instead to promote youth as its ideal, regardless of age. Because aging and death are rarely talked about; because we are not commonly exposed to them in a real and direct way, we are not prepared for what they entail. As a result, the needs of those facing the reality of old age often fail to be properly addressed.

We invite proposals from academic and independent researchers across the arts, humanities and health care disciplines, artists, writers, practitioners and health professionals, representatives of public and non-profit organisations that can help us to better understand, accept and prepare for the reality of growing old. We particularly welcome proposals that address the challenges of aging and dying; that critically assess shortfalls and/or successes in current Western approaches to aging and dying; that explore alternative perspectives on these realities.

Possible topics include:

Past and/or current understandings or representations of aging and dying through literature, cinema, art, philosophy, history or cultural media;

Critical assessments of current and past approaches to the realities of aging and dying;

New or alternative approaches to aging and dying (including experimental approaches such as trial or community projects).

Deadline for submissions: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Please send a title, 500 word proposal and short c.v. including institutional affiliation (where applicable) to:

Janet Dunbrack  & Catherine Dhavernas
Department of French Studies,
Queen’s University,
Kingston, Ontario
CANADA
K7L 3N6