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Student Profile: Abu Fakhri
Sociology and Anthropology doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
I am a doctoral candidate in Sociology with an interest in memory, migration, and home. I entered the program in fall 2019 after completing my MA in Anthropology at the University of Tehran. My research is mainly about Afghan refugees stemming from my experiences with them ever since my childhood in Iran. Through my life as a child living in the suburbs of a remote town, a volunteer close to the sweatshops, and later a Tehran-based researcher, I have seen different forms of discrimination and exclusion that the Afghan refugees can experience: daily prejudice, temporary and precarious working and living conditions, and denied rights (of education and citizenship). Outside academics, I spend much of my time cooking and baking. I have a rural background and I come from a line of great farmers, bakers, and cooks. I do my best each time I cook or bake to make them proud.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I chose SFU mainly for my supervisor and funding opportunities. The location, faculty, and what research comes out of my department are the other reasons which made me confident to finalize SFU decision over the other options.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
My research is mainly informed by two scholarships: refugee and migration studies and (collective) memory studies. My community of research is the Hazaras who are a persecuted ethnic and religious community from Afghanistan with historical experiences of genocide, systemic discrimination, and forced displacement. For my doctoral research, I want to follow Hazara refugees in time and across space to see how memories and forgetting of the past are implicated in their migration trajectory and settlement desires and practices, social mobility, and political work. I look into how they redress and connect their past (a shared memory of a painful past, the Taliban first reign, perilous migration experience) with the present (current discrimination and marginalization, the Taliban second reign), and how the past and present might inform the future (hope for recognition of the past and aspiration for a better life).
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I really appreciate the intellectual and emotional support I get from my dissertation committee. I have found great people in and out of my department. People with whom I enjoy exchanging ideas, hours of conversation about the world, life, and political action.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship and Community Trust Endowment Fellowship (2020 and 2021)
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