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Beyond the Body: Recasting Aging

Challenging Traditional Notions of Aging

July 3 – 10, 2019


engAGE: Concordia’s Centre for Research on Aging, in partnership with the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Applied Human Sciences, is offering its first intensive and experiential summer school to challenge how we think about aging and to recast age beyond the body. In this eight-day long Summer School, students will participate in an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to recasting age beyond the dominant narrative of physical decline across the lifespan. Our goal is not to “cure” or “solve” aging, but rather to critically interrogate its lived effects beyond the health-related considerations that have historically been dominant.

Beyond the Body offers a more comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted experience of aging. Students will engage with internationally renowned age studies scholars on topics of cultural gerontology, emerging technologies and aging, social policies, and innovative community practices related to age. By involving older adults as speakers and participants, the Summer School makes explicit its valuing of older adults themselves as experts of their own experiences, recasting aging as a multifarious and intersectional lived experience.

Course Outline

Beyond the Body combines both theoretical and experiential learning. Each day of the School will begin with a keynote address focusing on a particular aspect of aging, its framing, and its possibilities and potentialities. These talks will be followed by small group discussions about readings related to the keynote. In the afternoon, we will participate in a combination of different activities that include field trips or tours of particular sites, and participate in workshops that have an applied and experiential component.

The School will begin with a critical examination of the dominant narrative of ageing, exploring how it can and has been contested and reframed. We then delve into aging and technologies, paying particular attention to the role of digital literacy, older people’s discourses about technology, and use (or non-use) of technologies. Thereafter, we attend to specific practices, such as engagement with arts and arts-based practices, that transcend the imposed limitations of aging. Situating ourselves in an urban context, we then focus on what defines age-friendly cities. Here, not only issues of mobility and accessibility will be addressed, but also social and political inclusion. We then return to the individual, focusing on the evolving story we tell ourselves and others about our identities, the significant turning points in our lives, and how we wish to be remembered. In this concluding session of the Summer School, we will focus on technologies of remembrance – how in telling our stories, we also fill out the texture of the lived histories of our communities and societies. In what and how we wished to be remembered, we find an avenue by which to go beyond the body.

List of Field Visits

  • Guided tour of local neighborhood lead by a local elder
  • Digital literacy training workshop
  • Art Hive visit
  • Senior’s residence tour
  • Forum Theatre workshop on elder abuse

Each day of the Summer School will conclude with an activity (as described above), accompanied by a half hour debriefing session.


Coming Soon!

Assignments and Evaluation

Students receive the equivalent of one 3-credit course for participating in the Summer School. Evaluation components are as follows:

  1. A 2000-word essay or creative output, critically reflecting on one of the Summer School topics. Here, participants are required to combine the readings, as presented by the lecturers, with their own understanding of the literature, as well as observations of the lived aspect of the topic they are investigating. This paper due on the last day of the School. (30%)
  2. A short, 15-minute presentation, where students present their papers to their peers. These presentations will be organized thematically around the particular topic that is being addressed. Guidelines on making this short presentation will be provided. The presentation will be evaluated by their peers. (20%)
  3. Two critical annotations of articles that students find in the process of researching their final topic. The first 2-page annotation is due on the 3rd day of the summer school (Friday July 5th). The second is due on the final (6th) day of the summer school  (Wednesday July 10th). Each of these critical annotations is worth 15%. (30% in total). A template on writing the critical annotation will be posted online by June 1, 2019.
  4. Active engagement and thoughtful participation in the discussions during the course and in the debriefings following each of the activities listed above (20%)

All course readings will be made available to participants prior to the commencement of the Summer School.

Financial Assistance

A small number of fellowships are available for those who need financial assistance to attend. Fellowships will be allocated based on the letter of intent and the letter from the supervisor (if any) and cover all tuition and fees for the duration of the Summer School.


All out-of-town students will be offered free housing at the Grey Nuns' residences. For more detail, click the "Logistics" button below.

Readings and Evaluation



Participants will be selected on a competitive basis. Applicants will be evaluated based on the following items that must be submitted with their application:

  1. A one page letter of intent explaining why you are interested in exploring research on aging and how this experience fits into your existing studies or life experiences;
  2. A current academic transcript (for those currently in enrolled in postsecondary institutions);
  3. A letter from your academic supervisor supporting the application and indicating what financial funds will be provided (for those currently in enrolled in postsecondary institutions);
  4. A current CV listing your educational background, work history, and other relevant experiences.

Students are required to indicate whether they require financial assistance to attend.

Participants are not required to be students currently enrolled in university programs. We invite people of all ages and educational backgrounds to apply.


Please click the "Apply!" button below to proceed.

Application Deadline is April 15.

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