“I Don't Want to Claim America”

African Refugee Girls and Discourses of Othering

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 Bridgewater State University Laura.Boutwell@bridgew.edu
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In this article I draw from the Imani Nailah Project, a participatory action research initiative with a group of African refugee girls living in the US. I examine a particular fusion of racialized, gendered, and nationalized narratives that discursively construct the refugee girl. I interrogate this discursively produced refugee girl construct and highlight how actual refugee girls interact with this discourse with a focus on resistance strategies and emergent counter narratives of citizenship. Throughout the article, I use italics when I am referring to the refugee girl construct in order to maintain a central focus on interrogating a sociopolitical discourse—the refugee girl—as a construct distinct from actual refugee girls. My central aim is to highlight spaces and moments when actual refugee girls are in conversation with this imposed refugee girl discourse.