Parin Dossa

Professor Emeritus, Anthropology
Sociology & Anthropology


Dr. Parin Dossa, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, received her education on three continents: Africa, Europe and North America. Her long-standing interest on displacement and critical feminist ethnography has led her to focus on the interface between social inequality, health, gender and social palliation.  Based on her research on social suffering and narratives of trauma, Dr. Dossa explores the differential effects of structural violence on the lived realities of Muslim women: homelands and diasporas.  She grounds her analysis in methodologies that capture the reconstitution of lives on the margins of society. This orientation questions the conceptualization of the local and the everyday as discrete from the body politic, paving the way for presenting an alternative view of the margins as sites for the making of a just world.

Dr. Dossa’s field work on Muslim women has resulted in several interrelated projects: racialized bodies and disabling worlds; policy implications of storytelling; testimonial narratives and social memory; place, health and everyday life; social suffering; and violence in war and peace.  


PhD (Anthropology), University of British Columbia
MA (Islamic History), Edinburgh University
BA (English, History), Makerere University, Uganda

Areas of Interest

Migration, gender and health; critical feminist anthropology; transnational aging; politics of disablement; structural violence, storytelling and witnessing; Muslim Women. 

Geographical Focus: Canada, Kenya, Afghanistan and India

Select Publications


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Dossa, P. (2022). “Testimonial Photography: Thinking through Violence, ‘we do not eat fruit because our garden was burnt’.” Ethno-Scripts Open Access Journal, 24(1): 125-142, Universität Hamburg (also available in German).
  • Dossa, P. (2021). "Health and Health Systems in North America." In The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. Oxford University Press. 
  • Dossa, P. (2021). "Spatializing the Far Right" Response to the Social Anthropology Forum: The Far Right. Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale.
  • Dossa, P. (2021). “Gendering Everyday Islam, Border-Crossings and Production of ‘Alternative Knowledge’”, In Producing Islam(s) in Canada: On Knowledge, Positionality and Politics, edited by Selby, Jenifer et al, University of Toronto Press. Pp. 359-378.
  • Dossa, P. & Golubovic, J. (2019). Reimagining Home in the Wake of Displacement. Studies in Social Justice, 13(1), 117-186.
  • Dossa, P. (2018). From Displaced Care to Social Care: Narrative Interventions of Canadian Muslims, American Anthropologist, 120(3), 558-560. 
  • Dossa, P. (2017). Entangled Emplacement: Ethnographic Reading of Canadian Muslims’ Engagement with the World of Palliative Care, Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 11(1), 19-38.
  • Dossa, P. & Coe, C. (2017). Introduction: Transnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work. InTransnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work, edited by Dossa, P. & Coe, C. Rutgers University Press. Pp. 1-21.
  • Dossa, P. (2017). The Recognition and Denial of Kin Work in Palliative Care: Epitomizing Narratives of Canadian Ismaili Muslims. InTransnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work, edited by Dossa, P. & Coe, C. Rutgers University Press. Pp. 180-196.
  • Dossa, P. (2013). Structural violence in Afghanistan: Gendered memory, narratives, and food. Medical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 32(5), 433-447.
  • Dossa, P. (2012). Bearing witness: Women in war-torn Afghanistan.  In Crabtree, S. A., J. Parker & A. Azman (Eds.) The Cup, the Gun and the Crescent: Social Welfare and Civil Unrest in Muslim Societies (ed)., Whiting and Birth, pp. 62-81.  
  • Dossa, P., & Dyck, I. (2011 revised). Place, health, and home: Gender and migration in the constitution of healthy space. In O. Hankivsky (Ed.) Health Inequities in Canada: Intersectional Frameworks and Practices, pp. 239-256, UBC Press.
  • Dossa, P. (2011 reprint). Social suffering: Exploring the interface between health policy and testimonial narratives of Canadian Afghan women.  In D.L. Spitzer (Ed.) Engendering Migrant Health, pp. 147-166, University of Toronto Press.
  • Dossa, P. (2011). Exploring the disjuncture between the politics of trauma and everyday realities of women in Afghanistan. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 5(1), 8-21.
  • Dossa, P. (2008). Creating politicized spaces: Afghan immigrant women’s stories of migration and displacement. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. pp. 10-22, Sage Publications.
  • Dossa, P. (2008). Creating Alternative and Demedicalized Spaces: Testimonial Narratives on Disability, Culture and Racialization. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 9(3), 79-98, on-line peer-reviewed Journal.
  • Dyck, I., & Dossa, P. (2007). Place, health and home: Gender and migration in the constitution of healthy space. Health and Place (13), 691-701, Elsevier Press.
  • Dossa, P. (2006). Disability, marginality and the nation-state, negotiating social markers of difference: Fahimeh's story. Disability and Society, 21(4), 345-358, Routledge Press.
  • Dossa, P. (2005). Witnessing social suffering: Testimonial narratives of women from Afghanistan. BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly, pp. 147: 27-49.
  • Dossa, Parin. 2005. “Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds “they [service Providers] Always Saw Me as a Client, Not as a Worker.” Social Science & Medicine (1982) 60(11): 2527–36. 
  • Dossa, Parin. 2003. “The Body Remembers.” International Journal of Mental Health 32(3): 50–73.
  • Dossa, Parin. 2003. “Localized Impact of Global Restructuring of Work: Border-Crossing Stories of Iranian Women.” Gender, Technology and Development 7(2): 209–32.
  • Beynon, June, and Parin Dossa. 2003. “Mapping Inclusive and Equitable Pedagogy: Narratives of University Educators.” Teaching Education (Columbia, S.C.) 14(3): 249–64.
  • Dossa, Parin. 2002. “Narrative Medation of Convention and New 'mental Health' Paradigms: Reading the Stories of Immigrant Iranian Women.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 16(3).
  • Dossa, Parin. 2000. “Opportunity House: Ethnographic Stories of Mental Retardation: Medical Anthropology Quarterly 14(3).
  • Dossa, Parin A. 1999. “Living and Writing Dislocated Stories of Women: A Part or Apart?” Canadian Woman Studies 19(3).
  • Dossa, Parin A. 1997. “Reconstruction of the Ethnographic Field Sites: Mediating Identities: Case Study of a Bohra Muslim Woman in Lamu (Kenya).” Women's Studies International Forum 20(4): 505–15.
  • Dossa, P A. 1994. “Critical Anthropology and Life Stories: Case Study of Elderly Ismaili Canadians.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 9(3): 335–54.
  • Dossa, Parin A. 1992. “Ethnography as Narrative Discourse: Community Integration of People with Developmental Disabilities.” International Journal of Rehabilitation Research 15(1): 1–14.
  • Dossa, Parin. 1992. “Enhancing quality of life of the developmentally disabled.” Practicing Anthropology 14(1): 21–23.
  • Dossa, Parin A. 1990. “Toward Social System Theory: Implications for Older People with Developmental Disabilities and Service Delivery.” International Journal of Aging & Human Development 30(4): 303–19.
  • Dossa, Parin A. 1989. “Quality of Life: Individualism or Holism? A Critical Review of the Literature.” International Journal of Rehabilitation Research 12(2): 121–36.
  • Dossa, Parin. 1988. “Women's Space/Time: An Anthropological Perspective on Ismaili Immigrant Women in Calgary and Vancouver.” Canadian Ethnic Studies 20(1).


  • Dossa, P. & Golubovic, J. (2018). Community-Based Ethnography. International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by Hillary Callan, 1040-1046. John Wiley & Sons.  
  • Dyck, I. & Dossa, P. (2014). Immigrant Health. Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia.

Book Reviews

  • Dossa, P. (2018). Paul & Helen Macbeth (eds). Food in zones of conflict: cross-disciplinary perspectives. 235 pp.  Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books, 2014. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 24, 419.
  • Dossa, P. (2017). Kabul carnival: Gender politics in postwar Afghanistan, by Julie Billaud. University of Pennsylvania, 2015, (256 pages). American Anthropologist, 119 (1), 157.
  • Dossa, P. (2016). Ayya's Accounts: A Ledger of Hope in Modern Indiaby A. Pandian & M. P. Mariappan. Indiana University Press, 2014, (216 pages). Journal of the American Ethnological Society, 43 (4), 790.


  • Dorothy Killam Fellowship (2022).
  • Federation of Humanities and Social Science – evaluating book manuscripts related to my area of expertise (2022).
  • Evaluation of 9 applicants for promotion to Associate Professor: The University of Punjab (2022).
  • Food, Culture and Society Journal: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research (2022).


  • Recounting 90 Days: Western Golden Theatre: Expulsion of Ugandan Asians, (2022).
  • Video Presentation: World Refugee Day, "The main health challenges facing refugee women around the world," São Paulo State University, Zoom (2021).
  • Graduating Class: Gender Studies, Central Europe University, Zoom (2020).


  • Experiences of Immigrant Women Living with Chronic Pain and their Caregivers, University of Ottawa (2022).
  • E-Entrepreneurship and Women Empowerment in Pakistan, University of Punjab (2021).
  • Evaluation of 9 applicants for promotion to Associate Professor: The University of Punjab (2022).

Awards & Funding

  • Dossa, Parin "Envisioning Social Justice from the Margins," President's Faculty Lecture (02/2021).
  • SSHRC Connection Grant, "Producing Islam(s) in Canada," (Participant, PI Jennifer Selby, Memorial University of Newfoundland), 04/2017 - 03/2018.
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, "Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Study," Co-Principal Investigator (in collaboration with Barbara Perry and Dennis Helly), 05/2017 - 4/2021.
  • SFU Community Engagement Initiative Grant, "From Knowledge to Collaborative Engagement:  Inclusive Palliative Care  for Immigrant Muslims," 2014 - 2016.
  • Small SSHRC Grant, "Coming of Age: Exploring the Needs of Elderly Racialized Minorities in Hospice Palliative Care in Urban," 2014 - 2016.
  • SSHRC/Standard Research Grant, "Writing Trauma: Testimonial Narratives of Afghan Women- Homeland to Diaspora,Principal Investigator: Parin Dossa, 2008 - 2012.
  • Recipient of the SFU Bookstore Award: Author of the month (March 2005).
  • Honoured as a RIIM Scholar of the month (November 2004).
  • Honoured as a Researcher: Presidents Research Luncheon, Centre for Dialogue, SFU (2001).
  • Recipient of the Canadian Cable Television Association Award: New Voices: Ethnic Elders in Calgary, Rogers Cable 10 (co-produced video with David Campbell, 1985).

Media & Events

Co-Produced Videos:

  • Out of the Shadows: Narratives of Women with Developmental Disabilities, Shaw Cable, Calgary, Alberta (1995).
  • New Voices: Ethnic Elders in Calgary, Rogers Cable 10, Calgary (1987).