photo of Rumbi ChimhandaCongratulations to Rubmi Chimhanda on her recent PhD defence.  Her thesis topic is “Diasporic Experiences of Everyday Multiculturalism: Navigating Race and Space Through African Women’s Beauty Practices.”

“My PhD thesis examined how everyday multiculturalism and the African diaspora mutually interact to shape racialization processes in multiple spaces, both public and private, through an exploration of African women’s beauty practices. Five main social spaces were analysed throughout the thesis including the self, the home, the church, social media, and the workplace.

This thesis sought to bring attention to African women’s diasporic experiences of multiculturalism to increase cultural awareness and racial engagement on the issues this group of immigrant women face at multiple levels while living in Canadian society. As such, focusing on African women’s beauty practices was a way to shift from a normative Western-centric political understanding of multiculturalism to show how it is in fact a lived gendered and racialized phenomenon that takes place in everyday life across various social spaces. Accordingly, it is my hope that this research project begins to demarginalize African women in discussions about multiculturalism, gender, and race by making them visible and emphasizing their cultural and racialized identities as displayed through everyday beauty practices. Questions of race, identity, belonging, and community will continue to be challenging, inspiring, messy, and complicated but African immigrant women are navigating these one hairstyle, one lipstick shade, and one outfit at a time.”

Rumbi Chimhanda