Mediating Postcoloniaity in Education: Mis/Representations of Muslim Girls using Technology
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In this doctoral research, I explore how social systems and postcolonial cultural norms impact the process and outcome of digital media production created by girls who belong to ethnoracial minority groups living in low-income communities. The study was conducted as a Feminist Ethnography and feminist intervention in a Toronto school over three years, with a focus on Muslim girls in 2011-2012. The purpose of this research is to respond to both the ongoing marginalization of Muslim girls in Canadian schools and to examine how digital media production can be used to bridge ongoing divides between schools and communities in low-income urban and multicultural areas of Canada. Using digital media production to explore student experiences, I identify three topics for analysis that complicate the notion of student “voice.” In this work, I address how sociocultural structures inform the process of digital media production for racialized girls, exploring what kind of meaning can be derived from student-made media and considering how the videos and photos made by Muslim girls are framed within and informed by existing social structures, social expectations, and by the intentions and interests of adults. In addition, I also examine how student concerns over being seen and/or issues related to surveillance impact what they produce (or rather, end up not producing at all). Throughout this dissertation, I also consider how student engagement with different forms of new media and technology allow for varied behaviours and interests to be performed, offering a wider view into their lives. I conclude with a discussion of silence, addressing the importance of what was left absent in the process of making digital media with Muslim girls, and explore how these omissions relate to larger postcolonial power relations, to technology, and to media education for racialized girls in under-resourced schools and communities.