Muslim American Youth: Understanding Hyphenated Identities through Multiple Methods

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Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent “war on terror,” growing up Muslim in the U.S. has become a far more challenging task for young people. They must contend with popular cultural representations of Muslim-men-as-terrorists and Muslim-women-as-oppressed, the suspicious gaze of peers, teachers, and strangers, and police, and the fierce embodiment of fears in their homes.

With great attention to quantitative and qualitative detail, the authors provide heartbreaking and funny stories of discrimination and resistance, delivering hard to ignore statistical evidence of moral exclusion for young people whose lives have been situated on the intimate fault lines of global conflict, and who carry international crises in their backpacks and in their souls.

The volume offers a critical conceptual framework to aid in understanding Muslim American identity formation processes, a framework which can also be applied to other groups of marginalized and immigrant youth. In addition, through their innovative data analytic methods that creatively mix youth drawings, intensive individual interviews, focused group discussions, and culturally sensitive survey items, the authors provide an antidote to “qualitative vs. quantitative” arguments that have unnecessarily captured much time and energy in psychology and other behavioral sciences.

Muslim American Youth provides a much-needed road map for those seeking to understand how Muslim youth and other groups of immigrant youth negotiate their identities as Americans.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book provides a unique, powerful, rich, and nuanced understanding of identity development among Muslim-American youth. The publication of Muslim American Youth is a landmark event in developmental science."

-Richard M. Lerner,Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, Tufts University

“This work complexly and richly captures the diversity in the lived identities of Muslim-American youth, highlighting the power and potential of mixed methodologies in studying the phenomenon of life on the hyphen.”
-Harvard Educational Review

VOYA - Kristin Anderson
With great respect for their research subjects, the authors explore the impact that living with a hyphenated identity has on teens and young adults. The term Muslim American came into prominence in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. This culturally diverse group has now been lumped together, despite internal differences, and is under a great deal of scrutiny. Because it is a newly defined group, very little research on them is available. The authors use surveys, identity maps, and focus groups to glean information from their subjects. The survey data shows clearly that a significant percentage of Muslim American teens are integrating American culture and that they live on both sides of their hyphenate, considering themselves both Muslim and American. The authors' more powerful observations, however, have to do with gender differences: They observe that whereas young Muslim American women tend to feel as if they have a responsibility to educate others about Islam, young Muslim American men tend to feel uncomfortable expressing religious or political beliefs to others. As professional reading, this title may be useful for those who work with large immigrant populations, particularly those from traditionally Muslim countries. Although the authors' conclusions are interesting, it is possible that those who work with Muslim teens could reach similar conclusions by simply spending some time talking to them. Nevertheless this book will be particularly useful for any professional who needs well-researched support for what their instinct tells them their community needs. Reviewer: Kristin Anderson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814740408
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/12/2008
  • Series: Qualitative Studies in Psychology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Selcuk R. Sirin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University.

Michelle Fine is a Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies and Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of a long list of award-winning books in the fields of education and psychology, including Framing Dropouts, Becoming Gentlemen, and Speedbumps: A Student Friendly Guide to Qualitative Research and The Unknown City, both with Lois Weis. She is also coeditor of NYU Press’s Qualitative Studies in Psychology series.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Carola Suárez-Orozco: Designated "Others": Young, Muslim, and American

Growing Up in the Shadow of Moral Exclusion

Meet Aisha: Challenging and Laughing Her Way through Suspicion, Surveillance, and Low Expectations

Muslim Americans: History, Demography, and Diversity

Meet Sahar: A Hyphen with Holes in It...Allowing Her to Sometimes Fall Through

Moral Exclusion in a “Nation of Immigrants”: An American Paradox

Meet Yeliz: A Young Woman of Conviction, Distinct across Contexts

The Weight of the Hyphen: Discrimination and Coping

Meet Ayyad: "A Regular Cute Guy"

Negotiating the Muslim American Hyphen: Integrated, Parallel, and Conflictual Paths

Meet Taliya: Seeking Safe Spaces for Social Analysis and Action

Contact Zones: Negotiating the Space between Self and Others

Meet Masood: Grounded in Islam, Crossing Borders

7 Researching Hyphenated Selves across Contexts

Appendix A: Survey Measures

Appendix B: Individual Interview Protocol

Appendix C: Focus-Group Protocols

Appendix D: Identity Maps Coding Sheet
About the Authors

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    Not recommended...

    Disappointing work, weak conclusions and unlikely to teach you anything you did not already know.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    Fantastic book

    Great book for anyone interested in acknowledging and understanding the multiple and complex challenges faced by all immigrant youth in the U.S, and Muslim American youth in particular, as well as the ingenious ways in which they manage to cope and succeed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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