Memorial University and MANAL receive grant to archive Muslim lives in Newfoundland and Labrador

MiCA partners Memorial University and Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (MANAL) have been awarded an SSHRC grant to launch the Muslim Narratives and Lives in Newfoundland and Labrador Community Project (MNL in NL Community Project). Lead by co-PIs Jennifer Selby and Ayse Sule Akinturk, the project will both locate and create archival materials to weave new narratives that better depict the religious and cultural diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador. More tangibly, the MNL in NL project twins the videotaping of post-1925 oral history narratives with the collection and cataloguing of archival materials. These materials will be available in digital and analogue form through the Archives and Special Collections at the QEII Library at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus (Memorial) and in other book, website and display formats. Memorial’s QEII Library will support the project in training, archiving and creating space for materials.


The MNL in NL is timely and important for Muslim communities in this easterly province. Despite some who have lived in St. John’s for more than a generation, racialized and religious minorities are consistently imagined as newcomers (and rarely as ‘Come from Aways’— a title more often fondly assigned to white mainlanders). Part of the national imagined project of NL has been an imagined white and culturally Christian space. In addition to complicating this pervasive cultural homogeneity, creating a historical record has become pressing: the first Muslims to settle in St. John’s in the 1960s have begun dying. At the same time, the Muslim population in NL has more than quintupled (to almost 4,000) in less than twenty years.


In a time of growing discrimination and rising expressions of nationalism, this innovative project will create academic resources, local heritage interest and ways to imagine new narratives of Muslim lives in NL for generations.


For more information on MiCA and its partnerships across Canada, please visit its webpage.