Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
From what specific socio-cultural “positionality” are African-Canadian Muslim females living their realities? What methods do they employ to locate, (re)claim, and/or assert selfhood from these peripheral spaces within the white nation? How does their shared socio-religio-racial and gendered marginality, potentially, act as a site for inciting a sense of camaraderie towards one another? Such queries frame the content of this thesis which commissions qualitative research methods to unearth answers that rely upon the “particular”--by intimately gazing at 13 Black Muslim women’s gendered-racialized experiences in Toronto. Dividing analysis by religious status this work examines the dynamics distinct to 1. convert and 2.“life-long” Muslim participants’ cultivation of a religious/racial identity. The anti-Black and anti-Islamic discrimination punctuating “multicultural” Canada later collapses investigation into a unified survey of the ways African-Canadian Muslim women in general, contend with the oppressive socio-cultural forces attempting to infringe on their humanity. Research concludes that the adverse or hospitable responses of surrounding communities (these are: the ethnic-majority Muslim community; the non-Muslim Black population; Eurocentric secular society at large) to these women, influences how they both place themselves in their environments and interact with their Black-Muslim female fellows. This thesis argues that the persistent ostrasization of African-Canadian Islamic women within the religious and secular-public spheres of society establishes a necessary, defensive solidarity amongst these individuals; specifically, their communions can erect a nurturing platform to challenge or minimize the impact of oppressive forces--particularly protecting against the mental and social violence inflicted by racist-sexist Islamophobic white supremacist powers.
Mendes, Jan-Therese A., "Exploring Blackness from Muslim, Female, Canadian Realities: Founding Selfhood, (Re)claiming Identity and Negotiating Belongingness Within/Against a Hostile Nation" (2011). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6269.
McMaster University Library