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ERIC Number: ED526156
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 291
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-1186-8
Finding Home: Formulations of Race and Nationhood among Muslim College Students in Southern California
Ali, Arshad Imtiaz
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
This dissertation examines the construction of the label Muslim as an emerging racial and political signifier. I explore how students who identify as Muslim understand their own racial and religious construction, as well as their own subjectivity within the American social, political and cultural landscape. This dissertation asks: (1) How do Muslim college students understand the construction of Muslim's in public discourse?; (2) How do Muslim college students understand their relationship to the US as citizens, patriots and Americans?; and (3) How do Muslim college students construct their own identities in the US? This study was conducted with 24 Muslim college students on four campuses in Southern California. Utilizing snowball-sampling methodology to collect life history interviews, I engaged a cross-section of students who identify with the label "Muslim." I explored how these students develop notions of self, nationhood, and race through a lens of race and postcoloniality. I argue that the creation of a Muslim identity is enacted through both prescription and performance. I explore the prescriptive nature of this racial formation through students' interpretations of the representations of Muslims in the popular imaginary and through the discrimination students personally and communally experienced as a targeted group in the US. Next, I discuss the conflictual and contradictory ways students defined their relationship with the US as members of an American society. I explored notions of citizenship, participation and engagement. Lastly, I address performative elements of Muslim identity creation. I argue that the performance of Muslim identities, through these students' lives, occurs through both an ideological and theological understanding and through the creation of a unified experience. In expressing notions of citizenship, participants regularly referenced the sentiment of not feeling "safe" within the US, and yearning to be "back home." Nonetheless, when questioned, home did not refer to a familial homeland, but rather an unspecified 'Muslim' homeland which lacked a specified physical and historical location. Through my study, I posit that the production of a racial/political marker--Muslim--is deeply intertwined with how youth who define themselves this way see themselves simultaneously as Americans and members of an imagined Muslim diaspora. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; United States