Racialization of Muslim-American Women in Public and Private Spaces: An Analysis of their Racialized Identity and Strategies of Resistance


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Virginia Tech


The aim of this research project is to investigate how Muslim-American undergraduate women experience racialization in public and private spaces, examine whether those experiences give rise to a racialized identity, and highlight how they resist and cope with their racialization. The recent application of the term racialization to discuss the Muslim experience in the west has encouraged scholars such as Leon Moosavi, Saher Selod, Mythili Rajiva, Ming H. Chen and others, to engage in critical discourse within the scholarship of race and ethnicity regarding this often-neglected population. It is due to the unique, and gendered relationship that the female Muslim-American population has with the United States, particularly as a result of 9/11 and the label of 'oppressed' being imposed upon them, that it is important to comprehend how specifically Muslim-American women experience racialization. While these studies have broadened the understanding of how Muslims are, and continue to be othered, few studies have focused on the specific areas within public and private spaces where this marginalized group is racialized. This study attempts to fill this gap in existing research by examining how peers, mass media, educational institutions, law enforcement, family, and religious communities racialize Muslim-American women, and how these gendered experiences shape their racialized sense of self. In doing so, it also examines the impact of religious, racial, ethnic and cultural signifiers on the female Muslim-American experience of racialization, and demonstrates how these women employ certain strategies of resistance and coping mechanisms to deal with their racialization.



Muslim American, racialization, spaces, racialized, identity, resistance