Anti(Hijab)Bodies: An Auto-Ethnography


Using the metaphor of the biological organism fighting foreign invasion with its antibodies, I analyze some of the problems associated with the “scapegoating” of foreigners in sites of surveillance. In this essay, I assess the portability of this metaphor, not only in the sites associated with US security and surveillance like the airport and other ports of immigration, but also in sites of everyday interactions/transactions like the streets, stores, and classroom. My analysis and assessments are based on an auto-ethnographic study of my experiences with the sites of everyday surveillance. From my experiences as a foreigner in the US, I have realized that the fact that I am a Black woman with hijab in the US/Mexico borderlands region has compounded my hypervisibility which in turn results in the hyper-surveillance of my body. In order to cope with the problem of surveillance, I catalog how I perform self-surveillance in order to evade surveillance antibodies.


Surveillance; US Security; US-Mexico Border; hypervisibility

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Published : 2022-06-15

MohammedR. (2022). Anti(Hijab)Bodies: An Auto-Ethnography. Review of International American Studies, 15(1), 127-141.

Rabiatu B. Mohammed
New Mexico State University  United States

Rabiatu B. Mohammed is a graduate student at New Mexico State University in the PhD Rhetoric and Professional Communication program in the English department. Her research interests include Surveillance of Foreign Aliens in the US, Social Justice and Activism in Technical Communication, and Movements of Rhetorical Bodies across Spaces (geographical, ideological, digital, and intellectual). She is also interested in the neo-colonial study of her home community in Ghana.

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