XQs XXIV - A Conversation with Tahseen Shams

Posted by sepoy on October 10, 2020 · 39 mins read

The XQs (Ten Questions) series is a conversation with the authors of new and exciting works in South Asian Studies, whose aim is not to “review” but to contextualize, historicize, and promote new scholarship. We thank Laila Omar for conducting this interview. Please see the archive of previous twenty three XQs.

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Tahseen Shams is Assistant Professor of Sociology and the 2020-21 Bissell-Heyd Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Here, There, and Elsewhere: The Making of Immigrant Identities in a Globalized World (Stanford University Press 2020). Her research interests are international migration, race/ethnicity, religion, and nationalism. The question guiding all her research pursuits is how transnational, global forms of inequality intersect with local forms of boundary-work to affect immigrant groups, particularly those coming from Muslim-majority countries to the West.

Q. To start off, your book uses the case of South Asian Muslim Americans in presenting a fascinating analysis of how immigrants’ identities can be shaped by places located beyond the homeland and hostland. Can you elaborate on the book’s main arguments?

My book, Here, There, and Elsewhere, is about how contrary to common perceptions immigrant identities are shaped by geopolitics not just in the immigrant origin and destination countries but also in those places beyond the homeland and hostland–places I conceptualize as “elsewhere.” Based on ethnographic data, in-depth interviews, and analysis of social media activities of South Asian Muslim Americans, I introduce a new analytical model for studying immigrant identity formation–the “multicentered relational framework”—-which can encompass global geopolitics in the immigrants’ homeland, hostland, and “elsewhere.” Using the case of South Asian Muslim Americans, I show that different dimensions of these immigrants’ “Muslim” identity category connect them to different “elsewhere” contexts, in places as wide-ranging as the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. However “elsewhere” does not mean everywhere. How a faraway foreign land becomes meaningful to immigrants as an “elsewhere” depends on homeland dynamics, hostland sociopolitics and global hierarchies.

Q. You mention several times in the book the connections between your personal story and the research questions you were exploring in this project. So, what drove you to pursue this research? What were your personal motivations?

The book is indeed rooted in my personal story as much as it is embedded in my curiosity as a migration scholar. I am a first-generation Bangladeshi immigrant who arrived in the United States with her family as a teenager. My first introduction to the U.S. was in Mississippi, specifically Hattiesburg, a small predominantly white, conservative college-town where my parents still live. I did my undergrad there and I was often the only non-white, non-black person in any room. I spoke with an accent and was also coming from a Muslim background. So in many ways, my first few years living in Hattiesburg were a little isolating. Still it was great experience for a budding sociologist because I got to see society, differently, from the sidelines than those who were in the field, playing the game, so to speak.

I was recuperating at my parents’ house from a particularly grueling quarter of grad school at UCLA when the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack took place in Paris. It was a horrific event. I remember my parents being glued to their T.V. as they followed the live coverage. Although the attacks took place far away in France—-an “elsewhere” that is neither Bangladesh, where they are from, nor the United States, which they now call home—-they still feared a backlash in their small town. They called the handful of other Bangladeshi Muslims they knew in the area who, too, feared a backlash.

Later that year when ISIS attacked Paris, I was back in LA, and there too, I saw the same kind of fear among the South Asian Muslims I was studying (despite the significantly more cosmopolitan milieu). The frame of reference that hung over everyone in these communities was 9/11–as if the ISIS terror attacks happened not far away in France but here in America. Immigrants have various global connections that transcend homeland-hostland borders. I wondered how these places beyond the homeland and hostland also shaped immigrants’ identities? I could not find an answer to this question in the foundational readings on international migration. This led me to think about immigrant experiences outside the box and to shift my research idea for my dissertation project.

Q. In your analysis, you introduce the “multicentered relational framework,” a new analytical model that aims at studying immigrants’ identity-making and conceptualizing the relationship between the homeland, the hostland and “elsewhere.” Can you tell us more about this framework and how you came to it? How do you situate it within the broader literature on assimilation, transnationalism, and diaspora?

I argue that even though the scholarship of international migration has long examined how immigrants form identities and build communities, its focus has largely been on the sending and receiving countries. Assimilation theories analyzed how hostland contexts shape immigrants’ homeland identities over time, largely studying how immigrants become in many ways similar to the native hostland population over generations. Transnationalism studies expands the focus beyond the hostland by examining how the sending and receiving societies converge through immigrants who pull the contexts of their homeland society onto the hostland. However, the analytical scope of the transnationalism framework remains bound within the homeland-hostland dyad. Diaspora studies show how members of a dispersed population are linked to a common homeland and to each other and largely overlooks the hostland context.

My book extends the migration scholarship by showing how places beyond the homeland and hostland—-elsewhere—-shape how immigrants view themselves–i.e., self-identification with elsewhere–and how these places shape how others in the hostland view these immigrants—-i.e., identification of immigrants by others in relation to elsewhere. I show that different dimensions of my participants’ “Muslim” identity category tie them to different “elsewhere” contexts. As Muslims, these immigrants are members of the ummah—the imagined worldwide community of Muslims that subsumes borders and connects all Muslims by producing shared beliefs, practices, and a sense of membership. However, the heartland of this imagined community is not found in South Asia, but in the Middle East. As the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and the location of Islam’s holiest sites, the Middle East is arguably the religious and political center of the Muslim world. As self-identifying Muslims, these immigrants subscribe to the places, peoples, histories, and conflicts in the Middle East that sustain their “Muslim” identities. As such, many of the participants are politically oriented towards “elsewhere” Middle Eastern places, such as Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. However, how the participants self-identify does not determine how they are identified by others in the hostland. Despite the salience of the Middle East in the participants’ self-identification, it is the Muslim-related contexts in Europe that shape how Muslims are perceived in America. For example, whereas the 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris produced Islamophobic backlash in the U.S., similar attacks in Beirut just one day before the Paris attacks went virtually unnoticed.

So, in these examples, the multicentered relational framework captures three specific points of focus or “centers,” thereby expanding the homeland-hostland dyad: 1) the immigrants’ homelands (in this case, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan); 2) the hostland (the United States); and 3) “elsewhere” (the Middle East and Europe). The main goal of the multicentered relational framework is to capture if, how, and when the relationships between which centers become salient and shape the immigrants’ worldview and day-to-day interactions.

Q. Let’s take a closer look at the concept of “elsewhere,” which adds very interesting findings to the existing migration literature. When is a place considered an “elsewhere”? In other words, under what conditions does it become salient (or not) to immigrants’ identities? Also, how is it related to the presence of “exogenous shocks,” another significant concept to your analysis?

Let me use an example that I give in the book to answer how a place becomes an “elsewhere.” Almost 50% of Nigeria’s population is Muslim. But my participants neither know nor care much about that country. It becomes relevant to their sense of selves because of Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist group active in Nigeria that had kidnapped 300 schoolgirls, and Boko Haram’s connections to ISIS. Boko Haram came into the public’s attention when Michelle Obama publicized a campaign to bring back Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by these militants. To many participants, such as Zinat, a hijabi Bangladeshi woman, Boko Haram gives Islam and Muslims “a bad name,” and shapes how Muslims are perceived in America. Zinat does not know where Nigeria is exactly located, its shape on the map, or its demographic profile. But, based on what she has learnt from American news channels and social media, she knows that Boko Haram is located inside that country and that what it is doing there may affect her here in the U.S. This example shows that an irrelevant case can become relevant if events in that place draw the hostland’s political and media attention in ways that make the participants’ already stigmatized Muslim identity even more suspect. Boko Haram’s kidnapping is an example of what I call an “exogenous shock”—-an unexpected event that has originated from a foreign place outside a state’s borders but has still impacted the society within the state by disrupting the larger international order.

I argue that exogenous shocks link ongoing contexts in faraway foreign places to immigrants in their hostlands. By itself, a place located beyond the homeland and hostland does not carry salience for immigrant identities. However, these foreign places could become relevant to the immigrants based on global political dynamics, geographical location, or ongoing sociopolitical contexts within those places. I call these foreign—-but potentially “elsewhere” places-—“anywheres.” When an exogenous shock takes place “anywhere” in the world, it initiates a domino effect, impacting the host society and thus transforming that foreign land where the shock originated into an “elsewhere.” Nigeria, then, became an “elsewhere” in relation to its impact on the overall U.S. society and to the Muslim immigrants within that society. In other words, when “anywhere” becomes salient either to the immigrants’ homeland-rooted identities (such as ethnicity), to the hostland society, or to the relationship between the sending and receiving countries, it becomes an “elsewhere” for immigrants. Consequently, “elsewhere” is a site that is meaningful not only for immigrants but also for the people around them, which is why the “elsewhere” place affects how immigrants understand their location in both global and hostland social hierarchies. So, in short, to answer your question, I argue that a place becomes an “elsewhere” if: (1) contexts in an “anywhere” place become relevant to the immigrants’ sense of membership to an identity category through exogenous shocks and if (2) those contexts shape how others in the hostland might perceive the immigrants.

Q. What does it mean to use religion, in this case Islam, as an analytical lens? I particularly appreciated your emphasis on the heterogeneity that exists among Muslims. How did you deal with the challenge of analyzing this group without presenting a “Muslim monolith”?

To answer this really great question, I feel I must first say something about my methodological approach. My apologies if I sound like I am rambling a bit here!

So, I began this research from my reading of what existing theories say about immigrant identity formation. My goal was to address what I feel is a methodological limitation implicit in the concept of immigrant itself. Just because immigrants have come from “there” to “here” does not mean that these are the only societies relevant to their identities. Like all social actors, immigrants have multiple identities based on gender, religion, and sexuality that intersect with ethnic/national ones, placing them on a web of interconnecting sociopolitical contexts that transcend homeland-hostland borders. As such, focusing on one bounded place, such as the homeland or hostland, limits us from seeing how these other but nonetheless relevant contexts shape immigrant identities. To overcome this limitation, my key object of analysis was the “Muslim” identity category rather than a bounded place. By doing so, I was able to look at how multiple places, peoples, histories, and conflicts informed the “Muslim” identity and those who subscribed to it. I particularly look at two dimensions of the Muslim identity category-—the spiritual and religious. By spiritual, I mean beliefs and practices based on faith. And by political, I refer to power struggles involving people and institutions.

I use religion both as a site for observing various aspects of social life and as an interconnecting phenomenon. As immigrants arrive from one society to settle in another, their interactions with diverse immigrant and native groups produce contacts not just across cultures but also religions. As communities of believers, religions tend to tie together people in ways different than migrations from just “here” to “there.” Rather, religions transcend state boundaries and societal borders—-connecting “here,” “there,” and “elsewhere.” For example, a core notion of Islam is the ummah, which subsumes borders and produces a sense of membership, connecting all Muslims through shared beliefs and practices. So, this kind of religious framework can invoke a collective identity that people use to make sense of their world, organize relationships, and create group boundaries between “us” and “them” that cut across state borders. These interconnections are facilitated by advanced telecommunication technologies and are shaped by global political dynamics. As such, the effects of global events, such as religious-political conflicts, reverberate across state borders, making themselves felt at opposite ends of the world. Immigrants, as vectors of globalization, often face an almost immediate spillover effect from these events. For example, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes rose sharply in the U.S. in response to the November 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris, indicating how religion and politics are intertwined at the global level. At the same time, telecommunications allow immigrants to both follow global events and collectively interpret their meaning. For example, Muslim Americans anticipate and take precautions against the very antagonism that these global conflicts may provoke.

The truly trans-national aspect of Islam is why I use it as a strategic lens to capture the global ties immigrant co-religionists share both within and across various countries. Using Islam as an analytical lens, I locate immigrants at the heart of a dialectical tension between globalization or transnationalism on one hand and territorialization on the other. Whereas transnationalism highlights ties and flows transcending state territories—i.e., deterritorialization—territorialization limits these trans-border connections by imposing state boundaries. Islam has subsumed this dialectical tension for much of its history. Territorialization in Islam can arguably be traced back to the pre-Islamic era when Meccan tribes imposed geopolitical boundaries around the Ka’aba as part of their socioeconomic system. At the same time, Islam also prioritizes observing the ummah based on its principle to refuse particularistic loyalties to ethnic and national groups.

But, with the creation of modern nation-states, there are also more local religious communities, such as “Muslim American” and “British Muslim”. International migration adds further complications, as migrants become members (in many cases, citizens) of the receiving state while simultaneously remaining citizens of the sending state. For instance, many immigrants from the so-called “Muslim world,” such as Middle Easterners and South Asians, become citizens in Western countries, the very societies that had once colonized them and which still share less than friendly foreign relations with their homelands.

Now, you may ask, is the multicentered relational framework, then, generalizable to non-Muslim cases? I would argue that it is. Let me pull another example from the book—-that of Latinos, a non-Muslim group that is often racialized as group, which has been victims of misdirected Islamophobic attacks because of their physical resemblance to Muslim groups. While the 9/11 backlashes against terrorism primarily targeted Arabs and Muslims (real or perceived), they also affected Latinos/as. This group was initially deemed safe from the War on Terror, but it was not long before preexisting racial stereotypes of Latinos/as as “violent,” “criminal-minded,” and “disloyal” made them perceived as terrorists. Donald Trump, remember, actually kicked off his presidential bid by talking about the dangers that Mexicans, Middle Easterners, and South Asians brought to the United States. Even at the macro level, Latinos/as as a group have been affected by the changes in U.S. immigration policy and border control brought on by 9/11. Since the September 11 attacks, the United States has looked at its immigration policy mainly from a national security lens, giving rise to new measures and initiatives not just across and outside its borders but also within them. While, in name, these interior immigration policies were about fighting terrorism, in practice they were concerned about undocumented labor migration across the U.S. Mexico border. Based on this context, in which Latinos/as are homogenized with other “Muslim looking” groups of color, it is possible that conflicts concerning Islam and Muslims in “elsewhere” places also produce exogenous shocks for the Latino/a hostland experience.

Q. The role of media (of all types) is really emphasized in your different chapters, especially when it comes to the effects of exogenous shocks on how Muslim immigrants choose to represent themselves, and how they are perceived by others. This is also why analysis of social media activity was a central method to your research. Can you elaborate on the importance of the media to your analysis?

The everyday lives of the South Asian Muslim American participants are actually preoccupied with concerns that are quite mundane, very much like anyone of us. Historic and ongoing global politics are, at most times, not on their minds as they go about their busy daily routines. Rather, these individuals are worried about how to “get by” or “get ahead” in life, such as by doing well in classes or at work, and by making and maintaining relationships.

However, with advanced technology and social media, these immigrants also attend to national and global news on issues they find interesting. Their access to news often comes through alerts they have set on their smartphones based on their specific interests in world affairs. They also receive notifications of breaking news concerning hostland affairs, such as terror attacks and national emergencies. In either scenario, global and national political discourses are filtered down to the everyday level at a mere touch of a screen, informing not only the immigrants but also other members of the society. Moreover, many of these immigrants gauge public reactions to online news articles by reading through the comments sections that follow. These filtered news sources and public opinions arguably come to shape and reinforce people’s interpretations of the world around them.

Facebook, being a semipublic platform, also provided a space for my participants to control their narrative about their identities, and for me, provided another way to look at how these immigrants presented themselves as “good Muslims”—a nebulous term that largely meant Muslims who are “not terrorists.” And because social media at times works as an equalizer (anyone can log on and post/comment), it also provided my participants a platform to respond to exogenous shocks in their own terms. Sometimes, their response was meant as a precaution—-their silence or distancing from some Muslim-related issues was intended to provide them with a blanket of protection during times of national security tensions. At other times, they were vocal because they wanted their voices heard as a reaction to societal pressures. For instance, many of the participants were highly vocal in condemning the attacks and sympathizing with victims after ISIS struck Paris, but not after it exacted similar attacks in Beirut or Istanbul. Because the Beirut and Istanbul attacks took place in the Middle East, Muslims were not collectively called upon to account for the attacks, so participants did not feel the need to use social medial to vocally condemn the attacks.

Q. As someone who’s very interested in qualitative methods in general, I was fascinated by how you combined different data sources to enrich your analysis, as well as how you effortlessly alternated between analysis and description and highlighted your participants’ voices throughout the text. Can you talk about the benefits of using multiple sources of data? You did mention in the book, for example, that observing participants’ behaviors—in addition to interviewing them—led to more nuanced and accurate data. Also, what was the data collection process like for you? What were some of the challenges you faced in trying to approach participants and building rapport with them?

Using multiple sources of data was actually crucial for me to understand whether “elsewhere” connections were meaningful, and if they were relevant, how, when, and to what extent. Let me give some examples from the field on how I came across social media to be an important source of data. As part of my ethnographic fieldwork, I tried as much as I could to just spend an ordinary day (as opposed to some festive occasion) with my participants. About halfway through my fieldwork, I found that I would spend almost an entire day with a group of college students (of first, 1.5, and 2nd generation immigrants) and feel like I know what mattered to them on a day-to-day basis, what they gossiped about, and what relationships they engaged with. And then the next day, when I met them again, I would find that they would talk about things that apparently happened the day before that I have no idea about! This was because they were interacting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I realized then that there was a whole platform, a space very important for identity-making that I was missing out. So, in addition to traditional ways of collecting interviews and doing participant observation, I realized that I need to look at media and social media sources as well.

Triangulating interviews and participant observations was also crucial. For instance, I had some participants whom I interviewed first and then later, over time, became more familiar with them and was able to spend more unstructured time with them. During these interviews when I was still pretty much an unknown person to them, they would present themselves in the interviews as what would seem like a very practicing Muslim (in the sense that they prayed 5 times a day or tried to, they fasted during Ramadan etc.). But later, I would spend long hours with them, almost an entire day, and note that prayer times came and went, but not once did these participants excuse themselves to go pray. So, these were great moments of finding a more accurate picture of what day-to-day life looked like for my participants. But there were also challenges. I talk about in my book how my positionality as a young, unmarried woman in Muslim spaces sometimes gave me more access to women but limited access to men. Prayer spaces where people congregated regularly at a Bangladeshi ethnic enclave, for instance, had no accommodations for women. So, I could not access that space as a woman. Another challenge was getting too close to participants in that it was sometimes difficult to not get involved and bogged down in their politics with other members of the community. It was important that as a researcher, I keep my nodes and networks open. But sometimes, that was not an easy thing to do. For instance, if I was seen to be friendly with someone another person disliked, it meant that I was somehow not to be trusted by the other person. It wasn’t anything serious, just day-to-day politics, likes/dislikes that we all have. But this is what I love about qualitative data. The fact that some spaces were exclusive and that there were interpersonal dynamics, all told me something important about the boundary-making in these communities.

Q. I would love to learn more about your research’s transition from dissertation to book. What did you enjoy most in this process, and what are some of the struggles that you have experienced? What has changed about your project along the way and why?

This is another great question. I am sure you know from authoring very interesting papers on Syrian refugee mothers yourself that writing is a very creative process. So, it was fun and cathartic but also led to some rabbit holes and existential crises! The book did stem from my dissertation research. And for me, it wasn’t the difficult part. I had written the dissertation as a book, thanks to the advice of my awesome co-chairs, Roger Waldinger and Rubén Hernández-León, at UCLA. So, by the time I submitted my dissertation to graduate, I had a full first revised draft of the book manuscript. It was quite liberating for me to use that draft as a basis to start rewriting, revising, adding more data, and polishing to add more nuance. I didn’t have to worry about graduating. All I needed to do was tell a story the best I could. But it wasn’t always a rosy picture. I was working sometimes 13 hours a day just writing—-the first thing as soon as I woke up in the morning until I was way too zonked out to think. This was because I felt that I had ideas and connections floating around in my mind that if I don’t put them down on paper, I will lose the momentum. That was a difficult part because that meant I didn’t really have a healthy work-life balance for nine months nonstop. But the encouragement I received from reviewers, my teachers and mentors, and my family was a great encouragement. For instance, I would feel demoralized about what I just wrote not making any sense and would call my dad (who, now that you read the book know that, is not in academia), and he would let me read chapters to him. And he would tell me how much he is longing to hold the book in his hand. My mom would make me my most favorite dishes when I was at my parents’ writing away for three months. All that really made me feel this was a personal, collective effort. The catharsis of telling a story that I believed needed to be told because it was being overlooked in the migration scholarship—a field I love and feel really passionate about—fueled me to keep on going.

My project didn’t really change from dissertation to book, but the book certainly has a ton of more data than I had in the dissertation, partly because I had more time to reanalyze the data and make more connections between themes. Some concrete examples of things that look different in the book than in the dissertation are, first, the introductions began with snapshots or “hooks” rather than me starting from a critical review of the literature to convince my dissertation committee that I knew what I was talking about. Second, there were less citations and long blocks of direct quotes in the sense that they were much more woven in—-my editor at Stanford University Press, Marcela Maxfield, made some great suggestions on how to go about that. And third, I convinced myself that I am the best person who knows this story and what this means. A very, very thin slice of knowledge this may be in the grand scheme of things, but I told myself that I am the best person who could highlight why people should care about this story and what new insight we can gain from these immigrants’ lives. That gave me a sense of confidence that I did not feel I had as a graduate student, and I think that shows in my dissertation.

Q. Can you recommend five recent works that we can read in conversation with Here, There, and Elsewhere?

What an awesome question! Let’s see… recent books… Well, Cawo Abdi’s Elusive Jannah: The Somali Diaspora and a Borderless Muslim Identity (University of Minnesota Press 2015), Roger Waldinger’s The Cross-Border Connection: Immigrants, Emigrants, and Their Homelands (Harvard University Press 2017) and Sangay K. Mishra’s Desis Divided: The Political Lives of South Asian Americans (University of Minnesota Press 2016) were really helpful for my thinking when writing this book.

Two very recent books that came out that I have not read yet, but am super excited to delve into are: Lily Pearl Balloffet’s Argentina in the Global Middle East (Stanford University Press 2020) and Sarah M. A. Gualtieri’s Arab Routes: Pathways to Syrian California (Stanford University Press 2020). Just by reading the synopsis of each book made me excited to read them using a multicentered relational lens. I think there are some exciting conversations that could be had among the three books.

Q. You end your book with several fascinating avenues for future research that can be explored using the multicentered relational framework. How do you think this framework could be developed and extended to different contexts and populations? What are your future projects?

There are indeed a number of directions that future research can explore using a multicentered relational approach. I would like my future projects to test the scope and limitations of this framework across other immigrant groups and nation-state contexts. I will summarize three. First, studies conducted by Canadian sociologists show that South Asian Muslim immigrants experienced Islamophobia in Canada in response to 9/11 in the U.S. In more recent years, during 2012-2015, anti-Muslim hate crimes more than tripled in Canada—-a rise that mirrors the increase of Islamophobic hate crimes in the US around the same time. These suggest that contexts emanating from elsewhere—-in this case the United States—shapes immigrant identities in Canada as well. However, both countries have wide differences in immigrant integration, Muslim incorporation, racial dynamics, sociopolitics etc. despite both being neighboring countries in the West. For example, although both countries are responding to the same global crisis—-the Syrian refugee crisis-—they are doing so in diverging ways. The U.S. is enacting a Muslim Ban and Canada is seemingly embracing Syrian refugees. So, I plan to do an ethnographic project to look at how diverging reactions to the same global conflict shape the identity formation of the same immigrant group in two different nation-state contexts.

Second, I want to explore whether “elsewhere” is solely an immigrant phenomenon or whether it also applies to nonimmigrant groups. For example, does it also apply to black Muslims, for whom the racialized religious experience has been largely bound within the U.S. context? Indeed, research has shown that black Muslims’ preoccupation with domestic issues and immigrant Muslims’ preoccupation with foreign affairs have produced tensions between these two groups.

And third, another question I want to pursue is with regard to the idea of a Muslim American pan-ethnicity. Since South Asian Muslim Americans respond to Muslim-related contexts in the Middle East, are places in South Asia that have Muslim majorities also “elsewheres” for Arab and Middle Eastern Americans? If not, why not? And, what does the answer to these questions mean for the emergence of a “Muslim pan-ethnicity” and civil rights coalitions at the organizational level? With pan-ethnicity being a response to adverse hostland contexts, and with 43% of Americans harboring some degree of prejudice against Muslims, the post-9/11 Muslim backlash in the United States should have led to the solidification of a pan-ethnic identity encompassing the two largest Muslim immigrant groups—South Asians and Middle Easterners. Yet such coalitions have not occurred, and scholars are just beginning to investigate why that is the case. The multicentered relational framework can make a timely intervention in these research pursuits.

Laila Omar is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research explores how Syrian refugee mothers and youth experience time and uncertainty, and conceptualize their futures, after their resettlement in the host country.