"At-risk? really? I think anyone can get it": bio-pedagogy, sexual health discourses, and African newcomer youth in Winnipeg, Canada

Thumbnail Image
Odger, Allison
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
In my thesis, I focus on the role that sexual health messages play in the lives of African newcomer teen girls and young women living in Winnipeg. The research question I ask is: How have sexual health discourses shaped my interlocutors’ experiences and perceptions of sex and sexuality upon settling in Canada? My work seeks to address the complexities of sexual health discourses through a feminist-poststructuralist framework that reveals the taken-for-granted and emphasizes how looking at the heterogeneity of these young women’s experiences of sex and sexuality can challenge universalizing public health discourses. Specifically, I utilize the concepts of risk, bio-pedagogy, and biological citizenship to better understand how health has become bound up with idea of being a “bio-citizen.” I conducted 13 ethnographic interviews with ten participants and utilized participant observation in the field. My research will allow us to question not only the importance placed on being “sexually healthy,” but also how these narrowly defined discourses effectively obfuscate other ways of thinking about sexual health.
Anthropology, Ethnography, African newcomer youth, Sexual health, HIV/AIDS, Sexual education, Discourse