Theses Doctoral

A Banned Identity; Explorations of Muslim Youth in United States Schools

Aboali, Nora

This literature and interview-informed dissertation research sought to explore the educational experiences of a small sample of those who identify as part of the generation of Muslim youth in the United States who have come of age in “the age of terror,” precipitated by the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S. The research involved analyses and interpretations of selected literatures pertaining to seminal theories, histories, and discourses pertaining to U.S situated Muslim students in high schools. In addition, responses from seven Muslim high school students who describe how they see themselves, their schooling environments around them, and their place within that constructed world also contributed to this dissertation work. The researcher interrogated study participants’ descriptions garnered mostly via facilitations of interviews, and some student written narrative and poetry. Simultaneously, the researcher, who identifies as a queer Arab Muslim-American educator, reflexively interrogated her own assumptions, biases and expectations propelling and affecting her analyses and interpretations of study data. Themes of visibility and “coming out” as Muslim as well as of political structures, forms of oppression, namely Islamophobia, and school environments are all navigated as well as questioned through the perspectives of both students and the Arab-American Muslim educator-researcher. The research both creates and leaves spaces for further delvings into teacher education dominant notions of pedagogy, classroom images, and school communities. Additionally, this dissertation research offers possibilities for change in relation to conceptions of larger intersecting power structures that influence not only how the public perceives Muslim cultures but also on how these youth see themselves.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Janet
Morrell, Ernest
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 1, 2021