Videos: Last Chapter Seminar (plenaries)
George Rousseau is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society based at the University of Oxford and the recipient of honorary degrees honoris causa. He has been a Professor at UCLA, Regius Professor at King’s College Aberdeen, and was the Founding Co-Director of Oxford University’s Centre for the History of Childhood. Among Rousseau’s books is a trilogy about Enlightenment culture (1991) – Enlightenment Borders, Enlightenment Crossings, and Perilous Enlightenment; This Long Disease, my Life: Alexander Pope and the Sciences (Princeton, 1968) written with Marjorie Hope Nicolson; The Languages of Psyche: Mind and Body in Enlightenment Thought (California, 1990); Gout: The Patrician Malady (Yale, 1998, with Roy Porter); Framing and Imagining Disease in Cultural History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); as well as Nervous Acts: Essays on Literature, Culture and Sensibility (2004). His most recent book, Rachmaninoff’s Cape (London: Virtuoso) recently appeared in Russian translation. Professor Rousseau is a core member of the research project Historicizing the ageing self https://www.uib.no/en/project/ageing
George Rousseau, Joys and Sorrows of the ageing Clara Schumann: Senescence and Late Style _______________________________________ When Robert Schumann committed suicide in 1856 at 46, he left Clara with eight young children. She was now a single mother whose concert career extended to dozens of far-flung concerts each year and who needed to provide financially for her family. Reviews of her concerts often acclaimed her as the greatest female pianist in Europe. Brahms – 14 years younger than Clara who had become close to the Schumanns while Robert was alive – fell madly in love with Clara, yet their intimacy was no ordinary matter. The ageing Clara relied on Brahms for musical and financial assistance but could not love him as he did her. Instead, Clara burned the candle of her dead husband for four decades until her own death in 1896 at almost eighty. How did she manage? Why was she unable to live with or without Brahms? What was Clara like in old age? How did she grieve? What sustained her to the end? What were her last years like? And her musical compositions? And the eight children? This talk aims to answer these questions by probing the ménage-à-trois as it relates to Clara’s senescence.
David Troyansky, History and Ageing: Authority, Marginalization, and Celebration _________________________________________ The talk will offer reflections on writing the history of old age--particularly the social and cultural history of late life since the eighteenth century--during a pandemic that targets and sometimes offers occasion to celebrate older people’s lives. It will explore the circumstances in which the aged have been visible or central and those when they have been invisible or marginalized. It will use the French Revolutionary Festival of Old Age and early formulas for the granting of retirement pensions as points of departure for understanding late life in an era of rapid change. David Troyansky is Professor of History at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He works primarily on the history of France and the history of old age. He is the author of Old Age in the Old Regime: Image and Experience in Eighteenth-Century France (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1989) and Aging in World History (New York and London: Routledge, 2016). He is co-editor of Transnational Spaces and Identities in the Francophone World (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2009) and a six-volume Cultural History of Old Age to be published by Bloomsbury Press, and he has recently completed a book manuscript on career and the right to retirement in post-Revolutionary France.
Beatrice Allegranti, Moving Kinship with the More-Than-Human _______________________________________ This presentation introduces Moving Kinship: feminist choreographic and dance movement psychotherapy practice, research and activism with people living with rare young onset dementia, their families, and the artistic team Beatrice Allegranti Company. The project highlights the experience of loss and grief, not as ‘lack’ but as an embodied-relational process: loss is visceral and not something that we ‘do’ alone. By presenting Moving Kinship, I discuss the ethics and politics of entanglement and its implications for dementia: we are not bounded self-contained fully formed humans but porous processes - enfolding within a complex network of body politics, language, affect, tactile-kinaesthetic relating, environments, technologies, and power structures. As such, my proposition is a more-than-human view of dementia that tangles with, and disrupts wider social, political, and cultural inequalities of age, loss, voice/language, memory, intimacy, vulnerability, and care. This presentation will precede the digital performance of I’ve Lost You Only To Discover That I Have Gone Missing, an internationally touring dance theatre production directly informed by the tangled experiences of people affected by young onset dementia, and the artistic team Beatrice Allegranti Company. Dr. Beatrice Allegranti is Reader in Dance Movement Psychotherapy and Choreography (University of Roehampton), an independent choreographer and UKCP registered dance movement psychotherapist. Beatrice’s choreography and film work has toured internationally (France, U.S.A, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan, Poland) and her clinical experience includes private practice and the NHS (adult mental health and dementia services) and consultancy (Arts For Peace, Irish Defense Forces, Wellcome). Across her artistic, clinical and scholarly work, Beatrice’s embodied feminist focus involves an ethical re-visioning of the way we relate with/in the world through the lens of our intersectional body politics (gender, race, sexuality, age, class, mental health, environment). Beatrice Allegranti works with Professor Jill Halstead (Fakultet for kunst, musikk og design, UiB)
Bridie Moores, Troubling Age Performances Bridie Moores contribution outlines the work with Passages Theatre Group, the company formed, with performers over the age of 50, to support Bridie’s practice-as-research. This investigated the power of performance to trouble normative meanings that attach to the figure of the old person in performance. Some of the performances and methods that were developed as a response to age and other theory in the theatre studio will be explored. These include responses to Ann Davis Basting’s ‘depth model of age’ in which performance represents the aged body in its temporal depth (1998, pp. 140 – 143), and Anca Cristofovici’s analysis of the figure of the aged female nude in Jeff Wall’s The Giant (1994), which she describes as representing ‘significant form’ or ‘accomplished shape’ (1999: 275). Beverley Skegg’s (2004) insights into how value is inscribed onto the (aged) body has informed ways this might be disrupted in performance. The aim was always to accord the oldest body the most value. This session may offer an opportunity for practical exploration of exercises that emerged out of the research, which have been developed in other contexts beyond the PhD. These will of course be adapted to work online and will require no previous experience of performing. Bridie Moore has been researching the performance of age since starting her AHRC funded PhD project at The University of Sheffield in 2011. This included an element of practice-as-research and to facilitate this she formed ‘Passages Theatre’, a group for performers over the age of fifty https://www.facebook.com/passagestheatregroup/. They have made and toured 4 shows since 2012: Life Acts (2013), A Blueprint For Ageing (2014) The Mirror Stage (2015) And You Need Hands (2016). They were also Theatre Company in Residence at the Theatre Delicatessen, Sheffield (2017 -19). She’s currently Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Huddersfield, researching/writing a book entitled Ageing Femininities for Routledge.