Be/longing: Somali Girls in Toronto

Supervisor's Name Andrea Davis
Supervisor Email Address*
Supervisor's Department Humanities
Project Title Be/longing: Somali Girls in Toronto
Description of Research Project
This project will use the data collected at a focus group of Somali girls in Toronto in 2014 to theorize and interpret the experiences of second-generation Somali women and girls in Toronto for a book chapter in an edited collection on Race and Gender being published by Palgrave in 2019.The focus group was part of a SSHRC partnership development grant, "Youth and Community Development in Canada and Jamaica: A Transnational Approach to Violence" on which I was the Principal Investigator. The SSHRC partnership originated from the assumption that more critical scholarship is needed to help Canadian institutions and lawmakers better understand how and why Black Canadian youth remain entrenched along the socio-economic and cultural margins of the society and why they continue to struggle to achieve the perceived benefits of their society. While acknowledging youth as important assets in Canada’s long-term national growth, the partnership recognized that youth, because of distinctions of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, sexual orientation, educational opportunities and geography, have differential access to the tools necessary for full engagement and that racialized youth, in particular, routinely feel marginalized and alienated (Dei, 1995; Gariba, 2009; James & Brathwaite, 1996). While the partnership has produced several academic journal articles and book chapters on the experiences of male youth, nothing has yet been published from the data on girls.

This research project will address this absence in the research by centering the voices of a unique group of racialized Somali young women--voices that are often absent from discussions of race and gender in Toronto. These young women’s distinctive and powerful narration of their experiences of social and cultural exclusion suggests that these concerns cannot be treated as accidental or unimportant, and that as a society we need to engage a difficult, but meaningful, “self-reflexive grappling with racism and colonialism” (Pon, 2009, p. 47).

Undergraduate Student Responsibilities
The undergraduate student researcher will be responsible for the following:1. Transcribing the recorded data
2. Working with the supervisor to identify the major themes emerging from the focus group discussion and then organizing the data into these thematic groupings
3. Completing a literature review of relevant scholarship on Somali and other racialized girls and young women in Canada to supplement, support or contextualize the data

The student researcher will, thus, benefit by receiving training in data analysis, problem formulation, and will further develop her or his critical skills in writing, thinking and research analysis. The student will be acknowledged in the published article as a research assistant.

Qualifications Required
Full-time undergraduate students enrolled in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS)Minimum GPA of 7.0.

Will have completed at least 48 credits by the time they take up the award

Students with interest in race and ethnic relations, and women and gender are preferred