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Stories We Live By, With, and In: A Narrative Inquiry into the Experiences of Canadian Muslim Girls and their Mothers Open Access


Other title
Muslim mothers
Muslim girls
Muslim women
narrative inquiry
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Saleh, Muna H.
Supervisor and department
Clandinin, D. Jean (Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Emerald, elke (Education and Professional Studies)
Caine, Vera (Nursing)
Glanfield, Florence (Secondary Education)
Huber, Janice (Elementary Education)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Drawing upon my experiences as a Canadian Muslim woman, mother, and researcher, I engaged in a two-year multiperspectival narrative inquiry (Houle, 2012; Huber, Clandinin, & Murphy, 2011) alongside three Canadian Muslim girls and their mothers as girl co-inquirers transitioned into adolescence. Together, co-inquirers and I asked: What personal, familial, intergenerational, institutional, linguistic, cultural, temporal, faith-based/religious, and social narratives do we live by, with, and in (Clandinin, 2013)? What stories have been planted in us, what stories are we planting in ourselves and others, and what stories are being relationally shaped and reshaped? Drawing attention to our familial curriculum-making (Huber et al., 2011) practices, co-inquirers and I engaged in telling, living, retelling, and reliving stories (Clandinin & Connelly, 1998) alongside each other through multiple one-on-one and shared conversations within familial curriculum-making landscapes. For over two years, co-inquirers and I composed and inquired into diverse field texts (Clandinin, 2013; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) in the form of researcher field notes of events and meetings, researcher and co-inquirer reflective writing, recordings and transcripts of conversations, digital communications, and artifacts. Three narrative accounts, one for each daughter and mother co-inquirer pair, were relationally composed alongside co-inquirers with attentiveness to the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space of temporality, sociality, and place (Clandinin, 2013; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). Reverberating across the stories co-inquirers and I shared and inquired into are threads of our experiences of living in the midst of, and in relation to, multiple arrogant perceptions (Lugones, 1987) and single stories (Adichie, 2009). However, sharing, living, and inquiring into these stories alongside one another foregrounded the many ways we lived stories of relational resistance. Co-inquirers and I call attention to how we are continually composing our lives with imagination and improvisation (Bateson, 1989) amidst a multiplicity of ongoing transitions. While Muslim girls and women are often storied as victims of oppression in mainstream Canadian media and literature (Bullock & Jaffri, 2000; Sensoy & Marshall, 2009), little is known about our diverse experiences – particularly within familial and community landscapes. This research contributes a unique and important perspective to the academic literature, one that possesses the potential to shift dominant narratives of the experiences of Muslim females in Canada. It will also provide insights into ways families, teachers, and community members can help shift dominant narratives and better support Canadian Muslim girls, youth, women, and families in the many places we compose our lives.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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