Islamic Imaginings: Depictions of Muslims in English-Language Children's Literature in the United States from 1990 to 2010
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This research examines changes in the depiction of Muslims in Islamic-themed children's literature over two time strata, one decade before and one decade after the events of September 11, 2001. Random sampling with replacement across the two strata yielded a total sample of 59 books, examined at three coding levels: bibliographic data, story/plot data (genre, rural/urban setting, time epoch, conflict type, conflict context, religious instruction), and primary character data (age, culture/ethnicity, and gender). Content is examined using both quantitative comparisons of manifest characteristics and qualitative comparison of emergent themes. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed no statistically significant changes regarding the quantities of manifest features, while additional qualitative analyses suggest six substantive latent thematic changes identified with respect to genre (3), time epoch/setting (1), conflict type (1), and gender related to conflict type (1). Regarding genre, while the quantity of books with humor, with Arabic glossary additions and those employing non-fiction are consistent, the kinds of humor, the nature of glossaria and the subject focus of non-fictions are believed to have changed. With respect to a story's setting, shifts are identified in the treatment of rural and urban spaces, even while most books continue to be set in rural locales. Finally, with respect to a story's conflict type and the primary characters engaged in that conflict, it is believed that changes are evident with respect to self-versus-self conflict type and that female characters are generally lacking in stories of self-identity discovery.
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