Abstract

On the international stage, Canada is renowned for its multicultural ethos, its peacekeeping reputation, and its moderate politics vis-à-vis the United States. Nonetheless, post-9/11, the Canadian press followed the us media in casting Afghan women as abject victims who could be rescued only by what Iris Marion Young has aptly called the 'knights of civilization.' Yet the discursive manner in which support for the US-led war was invoked bore traces of a counter-hegemonic frame. This essay interrogates representations of Afghan women in the Globe and Mail, Canada's major English-language daily and newspaper of record. Examining the coverage over a seven-year period, the author traces the changes and continuities marking these representations in response to Canada's initial peacekeeping and subsequent military involvement in Afghanistan. The Orientalist construction of Islam as a homogeneous and monolithic faith and its representation as an essentialized patriarchal force are underscored. The framing of Afghan women living in Canada in contrast to their counterparts in Afghanistan is explored with respect to issues of agency, victimhood, and Canadian benevolence. The essay concludes with observations on how this coverage reinforces and legitimates an imagined community that is reflective of Canada as a white, settler colony.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 728-744
Launched on MUSE
2009-08-07
Open Access
No
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