Robin Oakley

Associate Professor, Acting Undergraduate Coordinator

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
  • Demography, race, ethnicity
  • Food and culture
  • Aging and the life course
  • Contemporary colonization and decolonization

Research interests

Robin Oakley is an Anthropologist interested in the relationship between economic constraints and cultural values with a focus on 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 comparing the Namaqaland reserves that pre-dated the Canadian reserve system to Mi'kmaq reserves recognized by Joseph Howe in St Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia in the 1800s. Her long-standing interest in demographic tendencies as perpetuated in the resilient Victorian 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 taught: Health, Illness and the World System; Health and Culture; Aging Cross Culturally; Belief Systems: Ritual, Myth and Magic; Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism; Qualitative and Field Methods; Food and Culture;Issues in Critical Health Studies; Culture and Society; SOSA Honors Seminar; South African Society; People and Culture; Special Topics: Tropical Health and Imperial Medicine.

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]