Centre for Canadian Studies
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Crossing Borders: A Multi-Disciplinary Student Conference on the United States, Canada, and Border Issues - March 2018, Brock University
Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada: A Colonial Legacy or Tragedy?In 2015 the Canadian government launched its National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW) (2015), identifying that it was one of the most urgently important issues facing Canadian society. This inquiry marks a pivotal moment in Canadian history where either a true reckoning may begin with regards to the imbedded colonial legacy of violence against Indigenous women in Canada or the status quo upheld. This paper will use Sherene Razack’s research on violence against women (2016) and the concepts of gendered disposability and Indigenous dysfunction to explore this topic. It will examine the murder of dozens of women in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and the lack of attention given to their plight by the police, as an example of gendered disposability. As Amber Dean (2015) argues, the Downtown Eastside provides a clear example of how disposability and dysfunction work to sanction the physical violence many Indigenous women experience. Ultimately, the three goals portrayed as solutions to the problem of colonial violence are simple. Primarily, to identify measures that will eliminate violence against Indigenous women and girls, to provide justice, and lastly to incorporate practices that address the systemic violence these women face. However, achieving them is the part that remains complex. Can Canada learn about its colonial history and still be doomed to repeat past injustices?
The Effect of Actions of Islamic Radicals on the Self-conceptualization of North American MuslimsThis paper examines the experiences of Canadian and American Muslims in the post 9/11 period in relation to the effect of the actions of Islamic radicals on the self-conceptualization of North American Muslims’ identity and social inclusion. The paper analyzes data collected from semi-structured interviews with Muslim clerics on both sides of the Canadian-American border, as well as data collected from questionnaires distributed to Muslim students at Brock University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. The paper examines the ways in which the actions of Islamic radical groups abroad shape the identity and social inclusion of Canadian Muslims in the Niagara region in comparison to American Muslims in Buffalo, New York. The paper utilizes a cross-border analysis approach while employing symbolic interactionism and the mosaic and melting pot theories as theoretical frameworks in analysing the data collected during the study. This paper demonstrates that although both Canada and the United States responded to the events of 9/11 similarly, Muslims in the two nations maintain different reactions to similar events.