Conference of the ILC Researcher at the University of Dublin
The talk will open with a discussion of a set of poems from Lyn Hejinian’s The Unfollowing, which puts a positive spin on the association of old age with childhood. a trope that is often deployed to infantilize and disenfranchize older people. By contrast, Hejinian uses it to highlight life’s openness and contigency. Taking a cue from the poet, we will mobilize the notion of “the old child” to explore questions like: do we get less creative as we age? Are we born with certain talents and/or do we keep acquiring and developing them later in life? What obstacles get in the way of the expression of our multiple valences as we get older? We will survey the latest research on the epigenetic development of giftedness across the life span, dwell on the lives of exemplary polymaths and late bloomers and discuss how these matters relate to the topics of labor division, meritocracy and leisure.