Events Calendar

Challenging Colonial-Normativity in Aging Studies

Thursday, March 28, 2019
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
University College (UC)
Room: 1105
Unsettling Aging Futures: Challenging Colonial-Normativity in Aging Studies,

Unsettling Aging Futures: Challenging Colonial-Normativity in Aging Studies

May Chazan
Trent University

Thursday March 28th
4:30-6:00 pm
UC 1105

This presentation foregrounds the stories of two Indigenous women activists, both in their mid to later lives, and both grandmothers. Both women participated in intergenerational storytelling research, which I facilitated at Trent University in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario) in 2017, as part of a multi-year (2016-2020) oral history project. In this presentation, I bring their stories into dialogue with critical writings on aging futures, while also reaching beyond aging studies to examine related work by Indigenous scholars in other fields; I explore how close listening to Indigenous perspectives might challenge and extend interrelated gerontological conceptualizations of generativity and futurity. I build on Sandberg’s and Marshall’s influential article, “Queering Aging Futures,” in which they critique the problematic ways that compulsory heteronormativity and able-bodiedness/able-mindedness shape dominant conceptions of successful aging and happy aging futures. They offer the project of ‘queering aging futures’ (a project that also encompasses ‘cripping aging futures’), working to make space for positive futurity among people whose experiences do not match images of wealthy, physically-fit older couples with grandchildren. What they do not ‘queer,’ however, is the enduring whiteness and colonial-normativity of the very conceptions and representations that they critique. This presentation thus seeks to extend their important work – to further unsettle the project of queering/cripping aging futures – by also engaging with critical Indigenous and decolonial perspectives. It ultimately offers new ways of conceiving of aging with happiness, meaning, and value for all, particularly for those most abjected by dominant cis-hetero-able-white aging narratives.

A Canada Research Chair in Gender and Feminist Studies at Trent University, Dr. Chazan teaches undergraduate courses on feminist and decolonial activisms, feminist methodologies, and intersectionality, and leads Trent’s Graduate Collaborative Specialization in Gender and Feminist Studies.

Part of the Women's Studies and Feminist Research Speaker Series

Department of Women's Studies & Feminist Research
Women's Studies & Feminist Research
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