Department of Geography

Memorial University of Newfoundland

St. John's, NL

A1B 3X9

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Navjotpal Kaur

Doctoral Candidate

Navjotpal (Nav) Kaur is a PhD Candidate in Department of Sociology at MUN. The tentative title of her doctoral thesis is “Transitioning Masculinities: Transnational Migration and Masculine Subjectivities of Young Punjabi Men.” In her research, Nav looks at young men of Punjab (a North-Indian state) belonging to a “higher caste” called ‘Jat’ who, traditionally, are farmers and landowners in Punjab. She explores the transnational experiences of these young men as they migrate to Canada as international students, and studies how Jat masculinities are influenced – (re)negotiated, (re)produced, (re)asserted, (re)formed, transitioned, rendered ambiguous, or remain impervious – by transnational aspirations, the process of migration, and eventually transnationalism.

More specifically, she explores what Jat hegemonic masculine ideals are at different intersections of space and time and how men strategize their masculine performativities in order to achieve that ideal in each of the following stages: 1. Before emigrating to Canada (in Punjab); 2. In Canada as international students; and/or in transition from temporary to permanent residency; 3. After obtaining permanent residency in Canada.

A significant part of Nav’s research focuses on caste-visibility of these young men as she investigates the varying degrees of caste-visibility at different geographical spaces and the corresponding variation in Jat masculine performativity. She hypothesizes that the degree of caste-visibility is dependent on the spatio-temporal context and differs for different geographical spaces, namely rural, urban, and transnational. Her research seeks to identify and explore the ways in which Jat masculinities intersect with these geographies and produce, reproduce, and rework their significant markers or attributes. In addition, using symbolic interactionist perspective, her research explores how young Jat men operationalize their bodies and ancillary material devices to highlight and reassert Jat masculinities in spaces where they are rendered inexplicit or ambiguous as a result of caste-invisibility.

Awards and Distinctions:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences graduate student of the month for September 2019 (link).

  • Scotiabank Bursary for International Study (2019) for travel related expenses regarding her dissertation project.

Supervisor: Dr. Rosemary Ricciardelli (Sociology)

Dissertation Committee: Dr. Rose Ricciardelli (Sociology),  Dr. Liam Swiss (Sociology), Dr. Yolande Pottie-Sherman