Ivoline Budji Kefen

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Notre Dame, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10287

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Budji Kefen, Ivoline (Notre Dame, U. of) "Communicative Engagement of Anglophone Cameroonian Women in the USA: Connection, Identity, and Agency"

In today’s world where people navigate unprecedented transformations in communication, alongside record movements often spurred on by armed conflict, how do (forcibly) displaced and migrant women manage new communication technologies, and how do these technologies affect their roles, relationships, and identities? How do these women’s communicative practices connect to memory, voice, and armed conflict even when those who experienced violence now inhabit safer physical spaces? To understand this often-underestimated set of agentive practices, I study English-speaking (Anglophone) female Cameroonian migrants living in Virginia and Maryland in the USA. Through (digital) ethnography, multimodal social semiotics, and social network analysis, I examine the role of new media in the management and/or transformation of the women’s roles, identities, and relationships in physical and cyber space, and their involvement in armed conflict in Cameroon. Women, especially migrant women, are seldom acknowledged as agentive stakeholders in conflict and peace discourses, but more often cast as victims notably of rape. Studying how they make choices about which media to employ in what conditions provides avenues to re-examine this narrative, and to better understand how the use of new communication technologies within a democratic society impacts sociocultural notions of womanhood and access to traditionally male-reserved spaces.