March 11, 2015
- Sarah Gualiteri, Ph.D., Departments of History & American Studies and Ethnicity
- Dornsife: Psychology
Research Gateway Project
- Is This Even You? Examining the Construction of Arab and Black Identity
This project engages with a growing body of literature that compares the formation of identity across seemingly disparate cultures and ethno-racial groups. Focusing on college students of African or Arab descent, I provide a comparative analysis of how these groups construct and understand their identities amidst the pressures of social, political, and economic marginalization. My research examines the relationship between one’s perceived identity and their actual ethnic makeup by examining the generational patterns of perception and identity as it relates to religion. This project also examines how African and Arab identities conflict, coincide, and blend together. Sally Howell and Andrew Shyrock discuss the “otherization” of Arab Americans in Detroit post 911 in their article “Cracking Down on Diaspora: Arab Detroit and Americas ‘War on Terror’” touching on the complexities of representations that contribute to Arab identity. This study is not interested in hard and fast hitting answers to Arab and Black identity, but rather what the constructions of these identities might add to larger global conversations of race, class, socio-economic status, and religion. Religion emerges as a key point of tension as well as unison between both of these communities, and proves to be a possible solution in ameliorating cross-cultural differences.