Candidate statements from members-at-large and student members for the 2021 NANAS Governing Council election are provided below.
I’m hoping this note finds you all well as we begin this rather curious year. I am seeking to stand as a candidate for a member-at-large position on the NANAS Governing Council in the upcoming election.
I am a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Aging & Society at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada). With a background in Library and Information Sciences, my interdisciplinary research has often focused on the intersections of information and care, looking at who is able and who is expected to be informed in care relationships. More recent collaborative projects include an examination of the impact of digital infrastructures on feelings of connectedness in later life as well as an investigation into the potential role of public libraries in mitigating older adults’ experiences of social isolation.
Previously, I served as the student representative on the NANAS Student Committee and am therefore acutely aware of this association’s important and active role in aging/age-related education, research, and collaborations. I eagerly look forward to continuing my involvement with NANAS in this new capacity and to play a role in nurturing dialogues and relationships among interdisciplinary age studies scholars, students, and community members.
My name is Benjamin Gillespie and I’m honored to run for election as member-at-large on the NANAS Governing Council, serving the association’s mandate of expanding the field of age studies in North America through taking on this role. As an active member of NANAS for the past two years, I’ve presented my research at the Trent Aging 2019 and MLA 2019 conferences on theatre/age focused topics. Prior to this, in 2015, I presented at the “Playing Age” conference hosted at the University of Toronto, solidifying my interest in age studies research, which has remained central to my research over the past five years. Having engaged with members of NANAS at these and other scholarly events, as well as through scholarship, it would truly be an exciting opportunity to give back to an organization that has given me so much. In addition, with my experience in conference planning and journal coordination, I would be particularly interested in exploring possibilities for planning events and conferences (both in person and virtual) as well as collaborative interdisciplinary research projects to advance and expand the field, especially for emerging and underrepresented scholars. My research focuses on performances of age/aging and queer identity in contemporary theatre and drama in the US and Canada.I’m currently completing my PhD in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). For the past decade, I’ve lectured in theatre history, drama, and contemporary performance at institutions across New York City including NYU, The New School, CUNY, Colgate University, and Marymount Manhattan College. I’m Associate Editor of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art (published triannually). With Julia Henderson and Nuria Casado-Gual, I’m currently co-editing the first special issue of Theatre Research in Canada on aging on the theme of “Age and Intersectionality.” I have presented at multiple conferences across North America and published on age and performance in a number of scholarly journals including Modern Drama, Performance Research, PAJ, Theatre Journal, Theatre Research in Canada, and Theatre Topics, as well as a number of edited anthologies. For the past 3 years, I’ve co-chaired (with Julia Henderson) the “Age and Performance” working group for the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. I live in New York City, but am originally from Ontario, Canada, and completed both my B.A. and M.A. degrees in Theatre and English at York University.
Mérida M. Rúa
Mérida M. Rúa, a faculty member in the Latinx Studies Program at Northwestern University, holds a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to her appointment at Northwestern, Rúa was professor of Latina and Latino Studies and American Studies at Williams College, serving as chair of the Latina and Latino Studies Program from 2016-2019. She is author of A Grounded Identidad: Making New Lives in Chicago’s Puerto Rican Neighborhoods (Oxford University Press, 2012), editor of Latino Urban Ethnography and the Work of Elena Padilla (University of Illinois Press, 2011), and co-editor of Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies: A Reader (NYU Press, forthcoming). Her current research examines issues and themes at the intersection of aging and urban life, with particular attention to the daily lives and socio-spatial practices of older adult Latinas and Latinos in Chicago. Related to this work, Rúa is co-editing a forthcoming themed journal issue on the art of Latina and Latino Elderhood with contributions from scholars in the interdisciplines, health sciences, social sciences and policy, and humanities and arts.
As a member-at-large on the Governing Council, I would be eager to further NANAS’s mission — to support multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research on the social, cultural, and structural meanings of age and aging — and to work with standing committees focused on conference organization and student engagement. I have collaborated with colleagues to promote and plan panels and sessions that encourage dialogue among various disciplines, interdisciplines, and social and cultural critics through my active membership and leadership in the Latina and Latino Studies Association and the New England Consortium of Latina and Latino Studies. I have also co-chaired the American Studies Association (ASA) Undergraduate Initiative, which has involved undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in making ASA more intellectually inviting and beneficial for students. These are a few of the experiences that I would bring to the NANAS Governing Council if elected.
I would like to join the NANAS Governing Council as a student member, as a way to contribute to the scholarly community from which I take inspiration. Through my interest in medical anthropology, aging, care and gerontology I hope to both learn from and contribute to the interdisciplinary collaboration objective of NANAS. I’m passionate about improving care and end-of-life experiences for elder individuals in institutionalized environments. I am currently working towards my Anthropology Master’s degree at University of Toronto in collaboration with the Aging, Palliative and Supportive Care Across the Life Course program by the Social Work Faculty. I have applied to UofT’s Anthropology PhD program with a focus on a socio-emotional well-being of the elder individuals. I worked at a retirement home as an essential worker during the COVID-19 lockdown. I will also bring with me years of technology and public speaking experience from the private sector. Thank you for considering my candidacy.
As a member of NANAS since 2018, Oh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at Michigan State University where she teaches general humanities, literature, and first-year writing. Her research lies at the intersection of age studies, history of medicine and science, gender and sexuality, disability studies, and 18th-century literature. As an interdisciplinary scholar concerned with how historical past shapes our identity, Oh is dedicated to addressing the invisibility of old age in human cultures, past and present. As an international student, Oh appreciates the cultural differences—not only in times but of geographical—in conceptualizing the process of aging. Her recent paper on old adults’ digital-political mobilization in South Korea, titled “Angry Digital Silver in the Pandemic,” has recently been awarded for best papers on NANAS conference 2020. Oh seeks to represent the interests of student members of NANAS by taking into account the student needs in the time of the pandemic.