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Current Research

The Critical Digital Literacy Project: Engaging Curriculum and Difference Through Video Production in Teacher Education

This SSHRC-funded initiative inquires into how video production can be integrated into teacher education and professional development to engage identity and critical perspectives across the curriculum. A website is being developed to support teachers and teacher educators interested in bringing video production into their classrooms. This video production hub will support teachers and teacher educators interested in introducing video to their own students in classroom contexts.

For more information about this project, visit the project website.

Research Collaborators:

Kayf Profile Photo Dec_2016-2

Kayf Abdulqadir, YouTuber, Media Producer, and Public Speaker

December 21_2016 Fartousa National Gallery_1

Fartousa Siyad, YouTuber, Radio Host, and Public Speaker

Research Assistants:

JamileeB headshot

Jamilee Baroud, Doctoral Candidate. Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa



Genevieve Cloutier, Doctoral Candidate. Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa


Postdoctoral Research

Muslim Female YouTubers Speak Back: A Participatory Video Project

Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. September 2013 to August 2015

  research2  Diane camera NYU with Kayf research4

Research Collaborators:

Fartousa Siyad, Kayf Abdulqadir & Hodan Hujaleh (Specs & Veil Productions)

This two-part qualitative study is guided by three main research questions:

  1. What are some of the complexities of being Muslim and female in post-9/11Canada?
  2. How do we challenge assumptions about ourselves and others in educational contexts?
  3. What are the challenges and possibilities of digital media production for social justice with/by youth from marginalized communities? Specifically, how might the DIY media making practices of 3 Somali-Canadian Muslim female youth YouTubers inform education, policy, and research for social justice in the digital age?

Research collaborators and I are in the process of producing two primary research texts. The first is a documentary film intended for youth, teacher, and community audiences. This video tells the story of my reseach collaborators’ experiences and sense of identity as Somali-Canadian Muslim, female, YouTubers. Their ground-breaking videos use humour to disrupt stereotypes often associated with Muslim females. Their work has a global following and has received international recognition. The second text is an auto/ethno/graphic bricolage documenting the process of participatory video with marginalized youth from new literacies, critical youth studies and feminist postcolonial perspectives.

Project Website: http://muslimfemaleyoutubersspeakback.com

Twitter: @mfytspeakback

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM_rVcfMVGI-pD745Yqo1yw

Doctoral Thesis

Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

Juxtaposing sonare and videre midst curricular spaces: Negotiating Muslim, female identities in the discursive spaces of schooling and visual media cultures                       


Muslims have had a starring role in the mass media’s curriculum on otherness, which circulates in-between local and global contexts to powerfully constitute subjectivities. This study inquires into what it is like to be a female, Muslim student in Ontario, in this post 9/11 discursive context. Seven young Muslim women share stories of their high schooling experiences and their sense of identity in interviews and focus group sessions. They also respond to images of Muslim females in the print media, offering perspectives on the intersections of visual media discourses with their lived experience. This interdisciplinary project draws from cultural studies, postcolonial feminist theory, and post-reconceptualist curriculum theorizing. Working with auto/ethno/graphy, my own subjectivity is also brought into the study to trouble researcher-as-knower and acknowledge that personal histories are implicated in larger social, cultural, and historical processes. Using bricolage, I compose a hybrid text with multiple layers of meaning by juxtapositing theory, image, and narrative, leaving spaces for the reader’s own biography to become entangled with what is emerging in the text. Issues raised include veiling obsession, Islamophobia, absences in the school curriculum, and mass media as curriculum. Muslim females navigate a complex discursive terrain and their identity negotiations are varied. These include creating Muslim spaces in their schools, wearing hijab to assert their Muslim identity, and downplaying their religious identity at school. I argue for the need to engage students and teacher candidates in complicated conversations on difference via auto/ethno/graphy, pedagogies of tension, and epistemologies of doubt. Educators and researchers might also consider the possibilities of linking visual media literacy with social justice issues.

The Committee:

I defended my doctoral dissertation on April 19th, 2011 in the Faculty of Education, at the University of Ottawa. My thesis supervisor is Dr. Patricia Palulis, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at U Ottawa. My committee members are: Dr. Cynthia Morawski, Dr. Diana Masny, Dr. Timothy Stanley, and Dr. Judith Robertson. The external examiner was Dr. William Pinar, Professor in Curriculum Studies and Canada Research Chair at U.B.C.

Academic Honours:

2012  Doctoral Dissertation Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Curriculum and Pedagogy Group. New Orleans, Louisiana. November 8

2012  Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies. University of Waterloo, Ontario. May 29

2012  Doctoral Dissertation Award, Honourable Mention

 American Educational Research Association. Division B, Curriculum Studies. Vancouver, B. C., April 14

2011  Distinguished Graduate Student Paper

Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice. Dayton, Ohio

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