The murder of British Columbia teen Reena Virk shocked Canadians and provoked an outpouring of media commentary, academic explanation, plays, and novels. But while much attention was paid to the problem of violence and "girl bullying," race and related issues hardly figured in mainstream conversation. This collection aims to refocus the conversation about Reena Virk by considering how racism, colonialism, and hierarchies of gender, class, age, and sexuality figure in this crime and our understanding of it. The ten thoughtful chapters by both prominent and emerging scholars force us to grapple with the difficult and at times ugly implications of Reena Virk's murder for Canadian national identity.
Excerpt from Tell – Soraya Peerbaye
Introduction: Collectively remembering and reframing the murder of Reena Virk – Mythili Rajiva and Sheila Batacharya
Part I: Race and the Construction of Hegemonic Femininity
Chapter 1: Hootchies and ladies: Race, gender, sexuality and “girl violence” in a colonial white settler society – Sheila Batacharya
Chapter 2: Erasing race: The story of Reena Virk – Yasmin Jiwani
Chapter 3: Deconstructing an invisible identity: The Reena Virk case – Jennifer M. Kilty and Sheryl C. Fabian
Part II: Between Fiction and Truth: Textuality and Authorship
Chapter 4: Reckless eyeballing: Being Reena in Canada – Tess Chakkalakal
Chapter 5: Under whose bridge? “Race,” class and gender in Rebecca Godfrey’s Under the Bridge – Tara Atluri
Chapter 6: Putting on Reena Virk: Celebrity, authorship, and identity – Michele Byers
Part III: Moral Panics around Youth, Gender, and Sexuality
Chapter 7: “Born” freaks, “made” freaks, and media circuses: Systemic management of race and gender in the Reena Virk case – Nicole Pietsch
Chapter 8: Moral panic and the nasty girl – Christie Barron and Dany Lacombe
Chapter 9: The killing season? Interrogating adolescence in the murder of Reena Virk – Mythili Rajiva
Mythili Rajiva is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Sheila Batacharya completed her PhD in the Graduate Program of Adult Education and Community Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
"This book offers a remarkable contribution to girlhood studies and in particular brings a fascinating interdisciplinarity to it - something that in and of itself is critical to the field. Its major strength is the way in which a number of feminist scholars have brought their collective analysis to a single issue that is symbolic of a much larger set of issues around racism and sexism in the Canadian context."
Claudia Mitchell, McGill University; author of Combatting Gender Violence In and Around Schools
"This book is a commanding, eye-opening account of not just what happened to Reena Virk, but also what happens when a country is indenial about its racist past. Its significance cannot be overstated. It is a hugely important book, and one that is a most welcome addition to anti-racist, postcolonial, and gender studies. It is a book that should be required reading for all Canadians."
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