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Gender & Women's Studies

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Gender & Women's Studies

May Chazan

May Chazan

B.Sc. (Waterloo), B.Ed. (OISE/ University of Toronto), M.A./ Ph.D. (Carleton)

Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair

Office: LEC S119.6

Phone: 705-748-1011 ext. 7739

Email: maychazan@trentu.ca

Office Hours: Wednesday 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Faculty Profile

May started at Trent as a Canada Research Chair in Gender and Feminist Studies and a faculty member in Gender and Women’s Studies in 2013. She is inspired by how social justice movements form, operate, and generate change and by how, across enormous differences in power, privilege, and worldview, alliances are forged and maintained. With longstanding interests in gender, aging, and intergenerational solidarities, she is particularly intrigued by the roles older women play in these activist coalitions.

May is currently working on a five-year study looking at why and how older women across North America are mobilizing and building alliances around a number of crucial social issues, including climate justice, violence against indigenous women, global health inequalities, among others. She spends much of her time with grandmother activists, documenting their life histories, carrying out focus groups, and participating with them in their various actions – protests, consciousness raising groups, alliance-building efforts, online discussions, and formal gatherings. She loves to draw students into this work and prioritizes training students and research assistants as part of her research process. She is also committed to a feminist, anti-oppressive, and community-engaged research practice. Her current study is supported through the Canada Research Chairs program and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Previously, May spent eight years working with grandmother caregivers in South Africa, seeking to understand how they were mobilizing around the devastating impacts of HIV/AIDS in their communities and how they were connecting into Canadian solidarity efforts. In South Africa, she was based at the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her reflections on this work will be published in her forthcoming book, The Grandmothers’ Movement: Solidarity and Survival in the Time of AIDS, in the spring of 2015. Ultimately, she seeks to address a gap in understanding older women’s contributions to the major social and environmental justice struggles of this century and, in so doing, to challenge stereotypes about older women as frail, marginalized, disengaged, and apolitical.

May did her undergraduate training at Waterloo (1993-98) and attended teacher’s college at OISE/ University of Toronto (1999-2000). Prior to starting graduate school, she worked with “at risk” teens, taught high school English, and developed outdoor-based leadership programs for young offenders. She then did her MA (2003-05) and PhD (2005-11) at Carleton, with the support of a Trudeau Foundation Scholarship, and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto (2011-13).

Since at Trent, May has become an associate of the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies, where she supervises graduate students, and a fellow of the Trent Centre for Aging and Society. She also remains a research associate with HEARD in South Africa.

2014-15 Undergraduate Teaching

WMST 3021H, Discovering Feminist Research, Fall 2014
WMST – SOCI – CAST 3860, Gender, Race, Class, Winter 2015

Selected Publications

Chazan, M. (forthcoming). The Grandmothers’ Movement: Solidarity and Survival in the Time of AIDS. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Chazan, M. & Kittmer, S. (forthcoming). Defying, producing, and overlooking stereotypes? The complexities of mobilizing “grandmotherhood” as political strategy. Journal of Women and Aging, Vol 29(1).

Chazan, M. (2013). Everyday mobilisations among grandmothers in South Africa: Survival, support and social change in the era of HIV/AIDS. Ageing and Society, November 2013, pp 1-25.

Chazan, M., Helps, L., Stanley, A. & Thakkar, S. (Eds.) (2011). Home and Native Land: Unsettling Multiculturalism in Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines Press.

Chazan, M., Brklacich, M. & Whiteside, A. (2009). Rethinking the conceptual terrain of AIDS scholarship: Lessons from comparing 27 years of AIDS and climate change research. Globalization and Health, 5(12).

Chazan, M. (2008). Seven ‘deadly’ assumptions: Unpacking the implications of HIV/AIDS among grandmothers in South Africa and beyond. Ageing and Society, 28, 935-958.

Chazan, M. (2008). Surviving politics and the politics of surviving: Understanding community mobilizations around HIV/AIDS in South Africa. In M. Follér. & H. Thörn, H. (Eds.), The politics of AIDS: Globalization, the state and civil society (pp. 199-222). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.