No Country for Old Men?
Ageing Masculinities in Irish LIFE & Culture
NUI Galway, June 3-4th 2020
Proposal Deadline: 15th November 2019
Over the next decade, WB Yeats’ reflections on Ireland as a setting for ageing and ageism will assume a fresh resonance a century after he published “Sailing to Byzantium”. According to a recent Irish government report:
“The ageing of our population represents one of the most significant demographic and societal developments that Ireland has ever faced […]. By 1925 the 85+ cohort will see an increase of 95.5% and the 65+ age cohort could be 1.0m by 2031.” [‘Housing Options for our Ageing Population”, March 2019]
Such demographic changes will necessitate not only planning in areas such as infrastructure, housing and health but a radical reappraisal of how we view and represent ageing. While ageing is often still conceived of as biological and uniform, we ask if it might be understood as more gendered, more complex and more culturally constructed than is often assumed? This question is especially pertinent in an Irish context, where the construction of other areas of social identity (gender, sexuality, ‘race’, class) has received widespread analysis, while discussion of how understandings of ageing and ageism are produced and reproduced has lagged behind.
This conference (following an earlier focus and publication on women and ageing) aims to address this lacuna by exploring and discussing the ways in which “old men” and ageing masculinities have been represented and understood in Ireland before and since Yeats. While especially interested in cultural images, the organizers are also keen to open up themes and approaches in an interdisciplinary context.*
Potential topics and approaches to be considered in twenty-minute papers might include (but are not limited to):
- Stereotypes of male ageing in an Irish context
- Constructions of ageing masculinity in Irish (including Irish-language) literatures (poetry, fiction, drama, life-writing) by men and women over the past century
- Ageing Irish masculinities in visual culture: film; television; painting; graphic novel; photography, advertising and media
- Ageing Irish masculinities and performance: celebrity; sport; music
- Ageing masculinities and the nation since Independence: politics; post-colonialism; the Presidency
- Ageing Irish masculinities and the body; sexuality; health; disability
- Ageing masculinities and experiences of loss
- Older men and care work
- Queer ageing
- Ageing masculinities and class / ‘race’ / ethnicity in an Irish context
- Male ageing in Ireland in comparative contexts (historical, men-women; intergenerational; Catholic-Protestant etc.)
*An established academic publisher has expressed strong interest in publishing essays arising from this conference.
Please forward a 300-word proposal and a short bio before November 15th, 2019 to: irishmascAGE@gmail.com
This event forms part of a wider consortium project “Gendering Age: Representations of Masculinities and Ageing in Contemporary European Literatures and Cinemas” funded under ERA Gender-Net + and under the auspices of the Irish Research Council.
An interdisciplinary conference hosted by Huston School of Film & Digital Media and the Moore Institute, NUI Galway.
Conference Organizers: Tony Tracy, Michaela Schrage-Früh