UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Listening to life stories teenage immigrant refugee girls tell Klassen, Irma Marion


Current historiography has begun to search the records for the voices of women as they themselves perceived life to be in their place and time. As a consequence the lives of the women which are being written have provided a vibrant texture to the fabric of History. This thesis adds the voices of seven teenage immigrant/refugee girls to the material. Using life history methodology it considers how personal experiences of traumatic sociohistorical events shape the life stories teenage immigrant/refugee girls tell. Drawn from a culturally diverse urban high school population, these young women trace their journey of displacement from the historical events that changed the direction of their lives, to the present. The research shows how life history methodology allows the story to be told from the speaker's point of view, and how in this instance it breaks down the otherness of "refugees" as a category. With startling frankness these stories capture the disjuncture of the girls' lives and teach us about the resilience of the human spirit. They teach us also of the acclamation that is possible when we listen to the voices of those outside of the standard text.

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