Barbarians in/of the Land: Representations of Muslim Youth in the Canadian Press


  • Yasmin Jiwani Concordia University
  • Matthew Dessner Concordia University



This paper examines representations of Muslim youth in a major Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, over a four-year period (2010 to 2013). The first part of the article reviews some of the relevant literature regarding Muslim representations in the Western, mainstream media, paying particular attention to representations of Muslim youth. Based on a close analysis of a corpus of 158 news stories, a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the coverage is presented. Using a postcolonial and critical race perspective, this article traces the ways in which Muslim youth are represented, illustrating the ways in which a racial logic inscribes them. The findings suggest that Muslim youth are cast not only as an enemy within the nation state, but also as a contaminating force that must be disciplined or ejected from the body politic. They are, in short, barbarians in and of the land. At the same time, these representations cohere to produce an image of the nation as benevolent and dedicated to universal standards of truth and justice.

Author Biographies

Yasmin Jiwani, Concordia University

Yasmin Jiwani, Professor, Department of Communication Studies

Matthew Dessner, Concordia University

Research Assistant