Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Stephanie Bangarth
Given the current climate of the global refugee crisis it is vital to investigate why and how Canada has admitted refugees in the past. Prior to the creation of formal refugee policy, several notable resettlement initiatives occurred within the country in the postwar period including the arrival of Hungarian and Czechoslovakian refugees. This is the first academic study on the resettlement, integration, and identities of Ugandan Asian refugees who arrived in Canada between 1972 and 1974. They were the largest group of non-European and predominately Muslim refugees to arrive in Canada before the official creation of formal refugee policy in 1976.
The purpose of the dissertation is to humanize those who have and are being persecuted around the world for various reasons including political belief, economic despair, natural disasters, sexual orientation, religious affiliations, and racial intolerance. By recapturing the life histories of Ugandan Asian refugees, the dissertation refutes the essentialization of refugees as subjects to be admitted based on a nation’s political leanings, national security interests, and varying domestic concerns. Oral histories with Ugandan Asian refugees in Canada reinvigorate the broader Canadian historical narrative with the life stories of refugees that have been living in Canada for over 40 years. As refugees have transitioned to becoming active Canadians citizens, the project uses a direct case study to explore the motivations behind Canada’s decision to admit Ugandan Asians while simultaneously highlighting how the collaboration between the federal government and numerous voluntary organizations facilitated the adaptation and integration processes for refugees. Their multiple affiliations to Uganda, South Asia, and Canada are discussed in various ways that embody the pluralistic nature of Canadian society. Their expressions of self demonstrate how individuals can be dedicated nationals of a country while maintaining cultural, ethnic, and religious ties.
Muhammedi, Shezan, "'Gifts From Amin': The Resettlement, Integration, and Identities of Ugandan Asian Refugees in Canada" (2017). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 4438.