Prof. Sara Jamieson recently presented research at Take Back Aging: Power, Critique, Imagination, an international conference of the North American and European Networks in Aging Studies hosted by the Trent Centre for Aging and Society in Peterborough, May 28-31, 2019. The conference brought together scholars from multiple disciplines to share their diverse approaches to the fields of gerontology and critical aging studies.

Focused on Joe Ollmann’s graphic narrative Mid-Life (2011), Jamieson’s paper draws upon contemporary comics theory and popular psychological literature about the “mid-life crisis” to explore how Ollmann’s text foregrounds its own inescapable connection to juvenilia in a way that broadcasts a deep ambivalence toward a common conception of the mid-life transition itself as a “second adolescence.” As an autobiographical comic about a man who fears that he has grown old without having grown up, Mid-Life invites readers to think critically about the assumptions underlying the concept of “middlescence,” as well as to imagine how connections between midlife and youth might be constructively reframed. Tracing the strategies through which Ollmann’s reflections on middle-aged white masculinity in contemporary culture both reinforce and interrogate dominant narratives of development, the paper aims to contribute to a growing body of scholarship on representations of aging in comics, and to enrich the critical discussion of midlife in contemporary literature.