Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationRice U.
Grant numberGr. 9285
Approve DateApril 18, 2016
Project TitleZeweri, Helena, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Between Watchful Care and Surveillance: Humanitarian Reason and the Criminalization of Forced Marriage in Australia,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion
HELENA ZEWERI, then a graduate student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, was awarded funding in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Between Watchful Care and Surveillance: Humanitarian Reason and the Criminalization of Forced Marriage in Australia,’ supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion. In the state of Victoria, Australia, where fieldwork was completed over 12 months, the definition of family violence has expanded to account for more subtle forms of family pressure and to extend accountability across multiple family members. In the aftermath of a federal law which makes coercing someone into a marriage a federal-level crime, this project examined how forced marriage, in particular, has emerged as a unique category of family violence. As caseworkers, policymakers, law enforcement, health practitioners, and community workers attempt to define the fine line between situations of consent and coercion, experiences of family pressure in marriage are rendered diagnosable and assessable through the recruitment of particular notions of couplehood, kin, and domesticity. The research found that the knowability of forced marriage is increasingly being refracted through existing frameworks around public health and morality, which are also tethered to a broader politics of multiculturalism. This politics ends up recasting recently resettled Muslim immigrant communities, in particular, as simultaneously victims of and potential resistors to forced marriage. Thus, this study of a policy sector in formation converses with work that interrogates how contemporary liberal settler colonial forms of governance tie gender-based violence to the politics of citizenship.