UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Bringing situated knowledges and counter-narratives into the newsroom : Muslim female journalists in Canadian media Maqsood, Hafsa


This thesis explores the experiences of Muslim women in Canadian journalism. Academic literature on racialized female-identifying journalists in Canada approaches them as a monolith under an umbrella of “women of colour,” further highlighting their experiences with newsroom microaggressions along with establishing their struggles with diversity representation and tokenization. However, rarely does such research explore how those struggles and experiences are negotiated or challenged by these women, if at all. Literature on Muslim women in Canada also focuses heavily on gendered Islamophobic discrimination and how they are affected by Islamophobic media representation. It has yet to venture into how Muslims (regardless of gender) negotiate such media representation in professional media production roles. Through a critical discourse analysis of qualitative interviews with eight Muslim female journalists, this research elucidates their experiences with a gendered-religious nuance considering the specificities of gendered Islamophobia. It further moves past the established discourse of racialized women in media facing burdens of representation to examine how they unite their situated knowledge and lived experience with journalism epistemology to challenge gendered Islamophobic discourses and cultivate a philosophy of presence in newsrooms. Drawing on theoretical frameworks like critical race theory, Orientalism, and discourse, this thesis ultimately finds that the women challenge dominant discourses of objectivity in journalism as well as Orientalist, Islamophobic discourses surrounding Muslim women. They accomplish this through 1) the work they choose to take on in their journalism, 2) the work they refuse, 3) drawing on Islamic principles in their journalism, and 4) cultivating spaces of community and solidarity within the white-dominated structures of the Canadian news media industry.

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