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Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds

Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds: Storied Lives of Immigrant Muslim Women

  • Book Info
    Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds
    Book Description:

    InRacialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds, Parin Dossa explores the lives of Canadian Muslim women who share their stories of social marginalization and disenfranchisement in a disabling world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8891-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    In 1967 Canada opened its doors to immigrants from the non-Western world (Li 2003). This move freed the Canadian state from the overt racist policy integral to its history as a white settler society. The shift was informed by a number of developments. In the presence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations 1948), an immigration policy that restricted the entry of non-European populations was an embarrassment. Second, Canada needed to draw skilled labour from the developing world for its expanding industrial economy, especially when its conventional source of European labour was dwindling (Li 2003). Third, the presence...

  5. 1 Mapping the Methodology and Sociopolitical Contexts
    (pp. 10-30)

    Fieldwork is rarely a discrete activity separated from the currents of social and political life. It therefore requires the delineation of particular contexts that throw light on events in the field and the stories shared by participants. To this end, I have divided this chapter into three sections. First, following a discussion of the methodology, I identify the social locations of the South Asian and Iranian communities respectively. In the second section, I examine the policy context of disability, asking why the paradigm shift from a charity to a human rights or entitlement model has occurred unevenly and why the...

  6. 2 The Difference of Disability
    (pp. 31-63)

    In this passage Mehrun lays out a context for her life that is at once personal and political. She lets the reader know who she is (age, status, and country of origin), and then she highlights the condition that has shaped her experience in Canada. Rather than employing the personal tragedy model, ‘I have polio,’ she says: ‘My life in Canada has been that of a woman with polio.’ Within the space of two sentences, Mehrun lays the groundwork for an exploration of political, social, and economic factors that inform the lives of racialized (non-white) women with disabilities. But, unlike...

  7. 3 Narrative Moments from the Margins
    (pp. 64-91)

    Tamiza is the mother of two children: one of them has been diagnosed as autistic, the other as hydrocephalic. In telling her story of raising her children in a society that continues to segregate and stigmatize people who have disabilities, Tamiza exemplifies a perspective captured by May Yee: ‘But we know the issues that face us because we have lived them, they are our lives’ (1993, 4). Tamiza’s story is of interest because of how she reflects on her everyday experiences of negotiating the deep divides between people with disabilities and those without disabilities, the private and the public, the...

  8. 4 Writing Dislocation: Telling Her-story
    (pp. 92-120)

    Storytelling has come of age.² The appeal of the genre lies in its capacity to bring into relief subjugated knowledge and to suggest progressive change. The stories that we listen to are increasingly those of pain, suffering, and the violation of human rights. We can then consider two relevant questions: How do we listen to stories, as opposed to merely hearing them, and how do we map the complex strands of the local worlds where stories have their roots?

    Nancy Scheper-Hughes, for example, argues that if we recognize that stories are ‘produced in human interaction, not merely

    “extracted” from naïve...

  9. 5 Women as Subject: Multi-voiced Narration
    (pp. 121-150)

    The year 1997 is imprinted in Sara’s mind, for it is the year when she came to Canada as a refugee, a border-crossing moment that freed her from an abusive marital relationship. Sara came to Canada with the determination to build a new life in a place that she considered to be a land of opportunity. She got a part-time job and had plans to register for courses that would help her re-enter the nursing profession, even if as a nurse’s aide, although in Iran she had been a nurse.

    Before embarking on her journey towards a new career, and...

  10. Conclusion: Alternative Spaces – Establishing Connections
    (pp. 151-164)

    In this concluding chapter I discuss the topic of voice to further explicate how disenfranchised populations make their case and how we may respond.¹ The women in this study, who are Muslims (a diverse group), have shared their experiences of displacement, forced migration, and resettlement. Each woman’s life experiences are informed by her particular social location.

    Stories originating from the margins of society have a testimonial dimension by virtue of being grounded in sociopolitical contexts. Mehrun, Tamiza, Firouzeh, and Sara – these women are connected through their common struggles, accomplishments, and aspirations.² They are, however, well aware that what they have...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 165-170)
  12. References
    (pp. 171-184)
  13. Index
    (pp. 185-192)