Two books on aging written by two professors at the Trent Centre for Aging and Society (TCAS) was the highlight as the TCAS opened their new space at Trent University’s Blackburn Hall to the public and the community on September 24.
“The Grandmothers’ Movement: Solidarity and survival in the time of AIDS” by May Chazan, Women and Gender Studies Professor at Trent University and “Ageing Resource Communities: New Frontiers of Rural Population Change, Community Development and Voluntarism” by Mark Skinner, Geography Professor at Trent University, and Neil Hanlon of the University of Northern British Columbia, were both published earlier this year and launched to celebrate the success of the TCAS.
“Both the books are good examples of community-based research and community-based engagement around aging,” said Skinner, who is also the founding director of the TCAS. He added that it was also to show how the two books, in their own very different ways, reflected faculty members’ engagement in the centre and at Trent with other communities around aging issues.
Chazan’s “The Grandmothers’ Movement” tells the story of hope while challenging conventional understandings of the global AIDS response, solidarity, and old age. It is about “the power of older women to alter their own lives through collective action and about the influence of transnational cooperation to affect positive global change,” the synopsis described.
“The Grandmother’s Movement” is a culmination of almost a decade of living and working intimately with older women in South Africa and in Canada, who were working in different ways for social change, commented Chazan. The book celebrates these women’s lives and a movement they have created besides the critical analysis of what it means to strategically mobilize grandmotherhood as a discourse.
The book captures a particular moment in time, the convergence of a series of events that were taking place in that moment and of a wider context that allowed for people to understand and think about grandmotherhood in certain ways. “In the case of this book, I was in the right place at the right time to capture this movement,” said Chazan.
On the other hand, “Ageing Resource Communities” is a book which aims to advance the field of scholarship on rural ageing by examining the ways in which older people and communities are responding to the complexity of rural population change and the relatively unknown context of aging resource in the early 21st century.
“The reason that we call it a new frontier of aging is that we understand very well what’s happening in urban and conventional rural places like Peterborough and Peterborough County. What we don’t know very much about is what’s happening in those very small, isolated communities,” Skinner commented.
He also pointed out that the book brings attention to the importance of rural population change, community development, and voluntarism. An interface between the three of these is a main theme in understanding the diverse experiences of responses to rural aging.
The open house also unveiled the photograph titled “Sunrise at Vineyard Haven” by artist Patricia Stamp, a gift by the artist for the TCAS at its new house.
TCAS shared the office in the Environmental Science building for the first two years since its establishment, before moving into their new house at Trent’s former Registrar’s space in Blackburn Hall in the spring.