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May's paper presentation at TrentAging2019, "Unsettling Aging Futures" | May 30 @ 2:30

On May 30, May will be presenting a paper, titled "Unsettling Aging Futures," at TrentAging 2019. May's paper will be part of a panel on "Queering Aging Futures: Feminist, Queer, Decolonial and Crip Visions of a Good Old Age," which will be hosted by our colleague and friend Barbara L. Marshall. The panel also includes longtime collaborator and friend, Nadine Changfoot, as well as Carla Rice, Andrew King, and Rebecca L. Jones. Read about the papers below!

Panel: Queering Aging Futures: Feminist, Queer, Decolonial and Crip Visions of a Good Old Age

Brief opening statement

Barbara L. Marshall, Trent University, Canada

Unsettling Aging Futures

May Chazan, Trent University, Canada

In their influential article, “Queering Aging Futures,” Marshall and Sandberg explore 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 paper thus seeks to extend their important work – to further unsettle the project of queering/cripping aging futures – by also engaging with critical race and decolonial perspectives. It draws on digital storytelling research carried out in 2016-2017 with multi-aged groups of activists in Peterborough (Canada), which centres the experiences, stories, and knowledges of queer activists, Indigenous activists, and activists of colour. The analysis brings key interviews (specifically with three middle-aged/older Indigenous women and one genderqueer youth-of-colour) into dialogue with critical writings on both ‘queering aging futures’ and ‘successful aging.’ In doing so, it challenges and extends the ways in which the interrelated concepts generativity, temporality, and futurity have so far been understood within gerontology and aging studies. This article ultimately turns to decolonial and critical race perspectives to offer new ways of conceiving of aging with happiness, meaning, and value for all, and particularly for those most abjected by dominant hetero-able-white aging narratives.

Queering Dementia

Andrew King, University of Surrey, United Kingdom

This presentation looks at the possibilities and challenges of queering dementia: what taking a queer theoretical perspective towards dementia can add to our understandings of cognitive and hetero normativities later in life and how they are interlinked. The first part of the presentation examines existing studies of LGBT people living with dementia (LGBTLWD). I use the term ‘living with’ here to take a more relational approach to health and illness i.e. one that does not individualise but recognises that health and illness are always lived out within a social context. The second part of the presentation then takes a more critically queer perspective, drawing on ideas from Queer Theory, but especially Edelman’s (2004) notion of ‘heterofuturity’ and Halberstam’s (2011) writings on ‘queer forgetting’. I finish with a reading of a recent advertisement from the Alzheimer’s Society UK to illustrate key points that I have developed across the presentation, but especially how cultural norms about cognition and sexuality are reproduced.

Crip Queer Futurities of Aging: Emergent Timescapes

Nadine Changfoot, Trent University, Canada Carla Rice, University of Guelp