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No. 11. Negotiating Identities: African Women in Alberta

Denise L. Spitzer

Negotiating Identities examines the ways in which first-generation African women in the Canadian province of Alberta negotiate their multiple identities in the context of families, ethnic communities, Pan-African associations and Canadian society. These African-Albertan women struggle with economic and social challenges resulting from global restructuring—challenges such as the erosion of wages and conditions for women’s work, and the entrenchment of a color-coded hierarchy that locates women of color disproportionately in the lowest echelons of the labor force. These shifts in economic and professional standing, familial and friendship networks, and cultural and religious milieu have the potential to cause upheavals in women’s identities and sense of belonging, yet this study reveals that women have responded by deploying a wide palette of identities from which to draw strength and a sense of self.

Denise Spitzer is the Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health at the University of Ottawa, where she is an Associate Professor affiliated with the Institute of Women’s Studies and a Principal Scientist in the Institute of Population Health.

IAD Fall 2006, No. 11, 38 pages, 0-9802223-1-1, 978-0-9802223-1-9, $10