Margaret Easton

GLS/SAR PhD Candidate


  • BA – General Studies, Athabasca University, 1986
  • Post Baccalaureate – Women’s Studies, SFU
  • MA – Liberal Studies, SFU, 2002
  • BC Instructors Certificate, VCC
  • MA – Gerontology, SFU, 2013


Margaret Easton received her BA in General Studies from Athabasca University in 1986, a Post Baccalaureate in Women’s Studies from SFU in 1998, an MA in Liberal Studies from SFU in 2002, her BC Instructors Certificate in 2003 from VCC, and an MA in Gerontology from SFU in 2014.

During this time, Margaret also worked in Financial Services in Calgary and the Lower Mainland BC, finishing her career as AVP, Operations. She currently writes online courses and provides classroom training for businesses on a variety of aspects of aging. Margaret recently spent a semester as a Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary where she taught The Psychology of Aging at the undergraduate level. Margaret is also the coordinator for, and an instructor with, the SFU Shadbolt Graduate Liberal Studies Big Ideas Seminar Series, a program that is offered in local community centers and facilitated by PhD students.

Margaret is a member of the first GSL PHD cohort from 2014.  Her doctoral research hopes to advance knowledge of the social, political, economic, and personal conditions essential to human flourishing in “societies of longer lives” and focuses on understanding persons and personhood in the aging process.

She is married to Greig (40 years), has one daughter Sarah, four-step-children, thirteen step-grandchildren, two bull-dogges – Bella and Mickey - and a cat Monroe.

Research Description

If new insights about aging are possible (and I believe they are), they will emerge from a closer examination of the interaction of two distinct, although related (or allied) approaches to the study and meaning of old age: the search to find personal meaning in old age and the search for a meaning for old age. The first, the search for personal meaning in old age - can perhaps be best described as the romantic, passionate approach to the study of aging that has been largely the purview of fiction, poetry, biography, autobiography, psychology, and theology. The search for a meaning for old age exemplifies the secular, rational approach to the meaning of aging, typically the focus of philosophy, history, and more recently, social sciences such as gerontology. There is much to be gained, I believe, from pursuing an interdisciplinary approach able to reconcile these two approaches to thinking about aging. I believe an interdisciplinary exploration of the alliance between literary and philosophical treatments of aging may well be the most promising avenue we have for exploring the meaning and implications of both our historical and current understandings of what aging means, and for recognizing the waning of personal meaning and personhood that we currently attribute to the aging process.

Recent Publications

  • Fang, M., Coatta, K., Badger, M., Wu, S., Easton, M., Nygard, L., Astell, A., & Sixsmith, A. (2015). Informing Understandings of Mild Cognitive Impairment for Older Adults: Implications from a Scoping Review. Journal of Applied Gerontology.  Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0733464815589987

Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Graduate Liberal Studies West Coast Symposium. Vancouver, June 17-19, 2016. “Are the Old Really Less Virtuous? Thoughts from Philosophy and Literature".
  • Canadian Association on Gerontology.  From possibility to practice in aging: Shaping a future for all. Calgary, October 23-25, 2015. “The Future of Human Flourishing in Gerontology:  Successful Aging or the Capabilities Approach?"
  • 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology. Meaning and Cultures(s):  Exploring the Life Course. Galway, Ireland April 10 – 12, 2014. “Successful Aging and Personhood:  The Old Filth Trilogy.”
  • International Federation of Aging:  Financial Abuse of Seniors Meeting.  Toronto, March 26, 2013.  Invited speaker: “Financial services technology and the prevention of financial abuse of older adults.”
  • Canadian Association on Gerontology.  Aging in a Changing World, Vancouver, October 18 – 20, 2012. “Fear of Crime and Older Adults:  A review and analysis of the literature with recommendations for improved research methodology and policy development in Canada.”
  • Canadian Legal Education BC (CLEBC):  Vancouver, Faculty, 2012. Invited speaker: “Financial Abuse and Elder Mediation.”
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution International Conference (ADRIC), Vancouver, October 27-28, 2011. Invited speaker: “The Long History of Financial Abuse of Older Adults.”
  • Canadian Conference on Elder Law, Toronto, October 28 – 30, 2010. “Developing an Interdisciplinary Approach to Eliminating Ageism in the Law.”
  • Federal/Provincial/Territorial Forum on the Financial Abuse of Seniors, June 19 – 20, 2008. Invited to co-facilitate session: The Financial Services Community.”

Awards and Grants

  • 2015 - Graduate Liberal Studies Program Scholarship,  SFU
  • 2015 - Graduate Liberal Studies Program Scholarship, SFU
  • 2014 - Yosef Wosk Research Internship Award: Liberal Studies,  SFU
  • 2013 - Old Age Pensioners of B.C. Scholarship Society,  SFU
  • 2012 - Gloria Gutman Conference Travel Award, SFU
  • 2012 - Elder Abuse Awareness to Action Award:  Gerontology Research Centre of SFU in recognition of outstanding contributions made in BC to advancing elder abuse awareness, mitigation and prevention. - SFU
  • 2011 - C.D. Nelson Memorial Graduate Entrance Scholarship,  SFU
  • 2006 - James B. Warren Award: Marketing & Sales Management,  UBC:

Community Presentations and Courses Taught

  • Why Do We Still Read Novels? - Shadbolt GLS Big Idea Seminar Series, Spring 2016
  • A History of Euthanasia - Shadbolt GLS Big Idea Seminar Series, Spring 2016
  • The Psychology of Aging 353  - University of Calgary, Fall 2015