Parin Dossa

Professor of Anthropology


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


Dr. Parin Dossa, Professor of Anthropology and Associate Member in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, 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 and gender. 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, including diaspora. 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, presents an alternative view of the margins as a site for the making of a just world.

Dr. Dossa’s field work on Muslim women in the diaspora 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.  

Her work has been published in edited collections and several scholarly journals including Social Science and Medicine, International Journal of Mental Health, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, International Journal of Human Development and Aging, International Journal of Rehabilitation Research (two lead articles), Pakistani Journal of Women’s Studies, Disability and Society, Health and Place (co-authored), Affilia: Journal of Woman and Social Work, Journal of Muslim Mental Health and Medical Anthropology.

Research Interests

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


Recent Publications

  • 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.
  • Dyck, I., & Dossa, P. (2014). Immigrant health. In The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society, pp. 1217–1220.

  • 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, 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.

Recent 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. (2016). Ayya's Accounts: A Ledger of Hope in Modern India, by A. Pandian & M. P. Mariappan. Indiana University Press, 2014, (216 pages). Journal of the American Ethnological Society, 43 (4), 790.

  • Dossa, P. (2017). Kabul carnival: Gender politics in postwar Afghanistan, by Julie Billaud. University of Pennsylvania, 2015, (256 pages). American Anthropologist, 119 (1), 157.

Conference Presentation

Closing Key Note Address: “Acknowledging Islamic Modernities and their Engagement with Coloniality”  Conference: Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus, The University of Alberta, April 2015.

Research Awards and Funding

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 - 4/2020.

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 - 2012Recipient 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).

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)