Brock University

Citizenship formation - the making of racialized, ethnicized, and gendered subjects III

This session is informed by a conception of citizenship formation as processes of self-making and being-made by power relations that produce regulated and hierarchical positionalities (Foucault 1989, 1991; Hall 1996; Ang and Stratton 1994; Ong 1996, 2003, 2006). The empirical focus of the session is mostly on racialized, ethnicized, gendered subjects confronting exclusionary practices. Together the papers address the following analytical themes: 1) social, cultural and political conditions in Canada or other contexts that shape citizenship formation processes through the regime of truth such as explicit and implicit racial and ethnic categories and ranking, mode and technology of power such as consent-producing rituals and rules; 2) claims to citizenship that are grounded in enduring notions of white supremacy, civilization, entrepreneurship, but also in other emerging notions of biopolitical capital such as age; 3) struggles over representations and ordering; 4) contesting, internalizing or circumventing practices of self-making in fields of power that include the state, civic institutions, and social groups; 5) pragmatic construction of belonging or solidarity.

Session Organizer: Xiaobei Chen, Carleton University,


Citizens without a Shadow: The Exclusion of South Asian Women from Canada

Rishma Johal, Simon Fraser University,

Historically, Canadian immigration policies have reflected the prevalence of a racial hierarchy, which privileged certain groups over others. The first South Asian migrants to Canada successfully entered because immigration officials’ energies were diverted towards tightening control over the migration of Japanese and Chinese men. However, as the population increased, Anglo-Canadians felt that it was threatening their homogeneity as a “white” settler society. Thus, in 1907, legal policies abolished many of the rights that South Asians possessed before this period as British subjects. The government disenfranchised them, excluded them from various professions, and barred them from buying property in many areas of Vancouver. Moreover, they prohibited South Asian women from migrating, which reflected both racist and gendered assumptions. This prohibition reveals how race and gender both combined as barriers distinctively in Canada to restrict South Asian women’s migration in accordance with the national project of establishing a “white man’s country”. Yet, South Asian women found ways to migrate. This paper will argue that the first South Asian women who migrated to Canada faced legal, social, and cultural constraints based on racialized and gendered understandings of Canadian citizenship.


Queen or Student? Yuna Kim in the space of figure skating.

Hye Jin Kim, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice in Education, OISE/University of Toronto,

When Vancouver Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim announced she will part ways with her former coach Brian Orser, Canadian media was not in favour of the skater. In this paper, I situate the media discourses in the relationship between her racialized body and figure skating as white space. With the help of Mohanram’s discussion on racialized body in spatiality (1999) and scholars who theorizes the construction of Canada as The Great White North (Berger 1966; Razack 2002; Baldwin, Cameron & Kobayashi 2011), I provide an analysis of media moments focusing on Kim’s winning of Olympic gold medal in 2010 Vancouver Olympics, announcement of parting ways with former coach Canadian Brian Orser, and her return to competitive skating in World Championships 2013 in London Canada. Yuna Kim’s status on this space is precarious between her claimed universal status as a “Queen” in the sport, and her constantly marked body, pinned down to her nationality. This risky identity was negotiated through her “student” status in Canada first through Canadian coach Brian Orser, was lost, and restored again through choreographer David Wilson.


Beauty Work and Race in Strip Clubs: A Case Study from Atlantic Canada

Hannah Vermish, Master's of Sociology Memorial University,

Despite growing interest in racial inequality and ageist practices in  strip clubs, research on this topic in a predominantly white city is limited. Previous studies find that youthfulness, slimness, and Eurocentric features are ingrained in the current social discourse surrounding beauty and, in turn, inform beauty standards and practices in the strip trade. This study addresses the impact of racial inequality in strip clubs a city in Atlantic Canada and whether the intersection of race and age influences beauty practices undertaken by strippers in strip clubs. The lived realities of strippers are observed in this study throughout ethnography, participant observation, and qualitative interview. The beauty routines of strippers and the meaning and beauty politics attached to these routines are also unpacked. This paper concludes by highlighting the impact of racial and age discrimination in the strip trade and suggests implications for policy makers and future studies.


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