Date of Graduation

5-2018

Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Department or Program

Gender and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Jennifer Scanlon

Abstract

Refugee Resettlement to the United States is a globalized and transnational process of making home. After Somali state collapse in 1991, more than a million displaced people fled to refugee camps across the Kenyan border. Today, over 12,000 Somali people now live in Lewiston, ME, an old mill town located along the Androscoggin River. As refugees are resettled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees they enter a system created over fifty years ago in response to World War II. Using post-colonial and feminist scholarship, this project analyses the “female refugee” subject as she appears in the official discourse of resettlement processes. I trace the historical emergence of this subjectivity from an individual and work-based neoliberal American ethos to non-governmental organizations run by Somali women in Lewiston. Drawing from document analysis and ethnographic interviews, this paper explores the how Somali women are made to be “new American workers” in a process that combines western liberal feminism with ideas of integration and cultural orientation to the United States.

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