How has the Canadian national identity associated the ruggedness of the North with a youthful, aggressive masculinity that is embodied in winter sports such as hockey? This is the research question leading a fascinating new project by Trent alumna Dr. Kristi Allain ’95, now an associate Sociology professor at St. Thomas University. Prof. Allain’s project, Snow on the Roof, Fire on the Ice: Aging Embodiment, Gender, and National Identity in Canadian Winter Sport proposes to explore the ways that Canada’s aging population might help shift dominant notions of gender and age as they relate to the link between sport and national identity.
“This research comes out of my time at Trent and my research partnership with Dr. Barbara Marshall,” Prof. Allain says. “Working as a research assistant on one of Dr. Marshall's prior SSHRC grants, I became interested in the meanings that older people brought to their engagement with fitness and exercise. Building on this, this winter sports project combines my interests in Canadian national identity (as a Frost Centre graduate) and exercise with our common interest in embodied aging. I am very excited to have an opportunity to work with Dr. Marshall again.”
Throughout her research career, Dr. Allain says that funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has played an important role in making investigations into aging studies and Canadian Studies possible.
“Given the scope of the project, we will have a much stronger analysis of older people's representations in winter sports, national sports policies and the ways that older participants come to understand themselves and others through their participation, than would have been possible without this funding. As winter sports are an important marker of Canadian national identity, we hope that this research will help to broaden dominant notions of Canadian identity to include the sports participation of older people.”