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(VIRTUAL) Labour Studies x Sociology Speaker Series: Dr. Maureen Kihika

Black Caregivers, Border Regimes and (Un)Belonging in Canada: 'Everyday' Life as Resistance in the Workplace

Jan 31, 2023

When: Monday, February 27th, 3pm-5pm

Where: Zoom. Register here


Black African immigrant caregivers experience structural barriers and borders in which their sense of Canadian belonging and professionalism are called to question by patients, colleagues, and managers. To navigate these socio-cultural borders and cultivate belonging in the workplace, Black caregivers repurpose their everyday ordinary actions into powerful subversive acts of resistance. This talk will explore how Black caregivers negotiate border (ed) belongings and reclaim agency through ordinary acts of ‘everyday’ life. Towards this end, this talk critically reflects on the subversive power of those historically marginalized and perceived ‘weak.’ Drawing from James Scott’s (1987) concept of ‘weapons of the weak,’ this talk focuses on the political context and agency of ‘everyday’ life as resistance. The talk is based on semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with a group of Page 2 of 2 Black African immigrant caregivers in Vancouver, BC from June 2013 to June 2014. Grounded in Black Feminist theory, it offers insights on how global and state borders – as spaces of exception, exclusion, and hegemonic power – are replenished and resisted in the workplace.

About Dr. Maureen Kihika:

Dr. Maureen Kihika is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and the Labour Studies program at Simon Fraser University. She is a race and labour scholar with teaching and research interests in global political economy, labour/work, and processes of identity formation in the new African Diaspora in North America. Her work analyses how race and intersecting categories of social difference shape the experiences of Black workers. With a commitment to decolonial and anti-racist feminist practices of knowledge creation, Dr. Kihika’s scholarship centers historically marginalized social locations as points of critical social theory and world-making. Currently, Dr. Kihika’s research focuses on how global uprisings against anti-Black racism inform the worldviews and work-life experiences of Black millennial youth in North America. Dr. Kihika’s scholarship champions efforts that make visible and celebrate the history and contributions of Black populations in Canada. As a scholar invested in knowledge mobilization and transformative social change, Kihika has participated in community dialogues and shared her expertise in professional settings such as the National Judicial Institute.