Robin Oakley

Associate Professor

Angus Harnish DOB 1871 Sober Island, Nova Scotia
Angus Harnish, DOB 1871, Sober Island, Nova Scotia

Phone: 902-494-6807
Mailing Address: 
Room 3107, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Critical Health Studies
  • Policy
  • Communal Land Tenure
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Social Justice and Inequality
  • Decolonising Studies and Methodologies

Research interests

Robin Oakley is an Anthropologist interested in the relationship between economic constraints and cultural values in relation to health and policy. She analyzed caregiving strategies for the elderly in Namaqualand, South Africa, among a community who enjoyed communal land tenure until the late 1990s. She is currently comparing the Namaqaland reserves that pre-dated the Canadian reserve system by examining the migration routes of Mi'kmaq who were forced off reserves recognized by Joseph Howe in St Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia in the 1800s. Her long-standing interest in race and ethnicity as perpetuated in the resilient Victorian British imagination and the debilitating impacts on people’s sense of “wellness” that all too often go unresolved continues to be a primary interest.  Dr. Oakley has written book reviews for American Ethnologist, Itinerario: European Expansion and Migration (Cambridge), Critique of Anthropology, the Asian Journal of Social Science and Journal for the Society of the Anthropology of Europe.

Dr. Oakley has taught: Qualitative and Field Methods; Belief Systems: Ritual, Myth and Magic; Health, Illness and the World System; Health and Culture; Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism; Issues in Critical Health Studies; Food and Culture; Culture and Society; SOSA Honors Seminar; Indian Society (alternates with IDS); South African Society; People and Culture; Special Topics: Tropical Health and Imperial Medicine and Aging Cross Culturally.

Selected publications

  • Fournier, Cathy and Robin Oakley. 2018. "Conversions and Erasures: Colonial Ontologies in Canadian and International Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Integration Policies". In Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Knowledge Production and Social Transformation Eds. Brosnan, C. Vuolanto, P. and A. Brodin-Dannell. Palgrave MacMillian.217-246.
  • 2010. "Empowering Knowledge and Practices of Namaqualand Elders". In P. Stephenson and J. Graham (Eds.) Anthropology and Aging: Contesting the Paradigm of Loss. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.
  • 2006. “Collective rural identity in Steinkopf, a communal coloured reserve, ca. 1926-1996”. Journal of Southern African Studies, 32, No. 3: 489-503.
  • 2001. “Generational and Life Course Patterns of Occupational Retrenchment and Retirement among South African Migrant Labourers". Restructuring Work and the Life Course, eds. V. Marshall, W. Heinz, H. Kruger, A. Verma. Toronto: University of Toronto Press:319-331.
  • 1998. "Local Effects of New Social Welfare Policy on Ageing in South Africa." Southern African Journal of Gerontology, 7(1):15-20. [PDF - 677 kB]