Salina Abji awarded Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award

May 18, 2017 by Sherri Klassen

Congratulations to Salina Abji, whose dissertation was recently awarded the 2016 Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award for best dissertation or published paper on Canadian society by a PhD student in the Department of Sociology. Salina defended her dissertation, entitled Emerging Logics of Citizenship: Activism in Response to Precarious Migration and Gendered Violence in an Era of Securitization, in the fall of 2016.

In their assessment of Dr Abji’s dissertation, members of the awards committee (Professors Robert Brym, Phil Goodman, John Hannigan, Ann Mullen and Jack Veugelers) wrote as follows:

We consider Dr. Abji's work a clearly written and thoroughly researched reassessment of postnationalist theory - the idea that a growing number of people are coming to think of themselves and others as members of a global community enjoying rights that extend to all of humanity.

It accomplishes this task by demonstrating that Canadian immigration activists and federal employees increasingly used postnational human rights ideas to inform their actions during the years of the Harper government. Activists did so as they blocked immigration authorities from entering schools, women's shelters and other institutions to investigate and deport nonstatus migrants. Some state employees followed suit by reacting negatively to secularization measures and questioning the legitimacy of citizenship rights as narrowly defined by the government.

In short, Dr. Abji's ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative interviews and discourse analysis show that postnationalism provides both theoretical leverage and activist guidance.

Salina is currently a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow at Carleton University.