UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

(Un)belongings : Muslim women in multicultural Canada Kraft, Molly


In this thesis I explore the way Muslim women in Vancouver, B.C. narrate stories of belonging. Addressing the way in which Muslim women have become a popular symbol for the perceived incompatibility of multiculturalism and specific cultural practices, I focus on how this group has been affected — resists and negotiates — the changes to Canadian policy and the social landscape in the last two decades. I examine how these women come to see themselves in relation to the framing of their social, cultural and religious practices as inherently incompatible with aspects of Canadian society. What stories of belonging do they tell? How are these affected, produced, or outside of, state narratives of being in Canada? I draw from feminist, anti-racist scholarship calling for more nuanced and critical approaches to concepts of integration, multiculturalism and nationalism. I argue that these women’s stories can best be understood through the theoretical lens of (un)belonging; spaces, moments and attachments that develop outside of normative belonging. Finally, I seek to ask whether we can “keep our senses open to emergent and unknown forms of belonging, connectivity” and “intimacy” (Puar 2007, p. xxviii) and what these might inform or enliven in studies of immigration, settlement and multiculturalism in Canada.

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