Our Faith Will Keep Us Alive: Religious/ Spiritual Identities of Diverse Immigrant Women in Ottawa

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Peruvemba JAYA, Department of Communication,University of Ottawa, Canada
An important aspect of immigrant women’s identities is their religious identities. This paper will focus on examining the religious and faith/belief identities of various immigrant women of diverse backgrounds in Ottawa. By immigrant women I mean women who have immigrated in their lifetime and have been born outside Canada. An effort will be made to interview women from many varied countries of origin as well as different faiths, persuasions and belief systems : such as, women who identify with Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and others, or as being agnostic, atheist, being spiritual and not subscribing to any belief system.

The following questions will be examined: How important is religious/spiritual identity within the frame of reference of their larger identities? How does their religious/spiritual identity change or transform in their adopted country: Canada? How do they negotiate their faith/belief/spiritual identities in different spheres of their life: personal, professional and other settings? How do they express and practise their faiths/beliefs? Are religious/spiritual identities suppressed after immigration or do they take on new forms and gain ascendancy in the Canadian context? How are religious/belief and spiritual practices and rituals maintained and reconfigured in the Canadian context?

In this paper I examine and locate the study in the context of transnationalism (Glick Schiller et al. 1992; Appadurai, 1995; Levitt 2001; Vertovec, 2001). In this study the focus is on transnationalism as linked to religious/faith identity (Ysseldyk et al 2010) and spiritual identity (Kiesling et al 2006). At the same time an intersectionality approach will be adopted being sensitive to the intersections of gender with aspects such as ethnicity, race, class, religion, age.