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Abstract

South Asian Muslim American (SAMA) girls studied ethnographically in Chicago and more broadly in the United States negotiate these three components (South Asian, Muslim, and American) of identity across the spheres of home, Islamic institutions, and the public “American” realm. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork at an Islamic school and within South Asian families and mosques, the authors illustrate how nascent “girl” power is evidenced in these contexts drawing on media representations, academic sources, and data drawn from participant observation. Sources of SAMA girls’ expressions of confidence and power are selective use of identity markers, increased mastery of Islamic knowledge, and various subtle acts of resistance to norms imposed upon them within home and family interactions, Islamic spaces, and the American public sphere.

Note on the Author

Marcia Hermansen is Director of the Islamic World Studies program at Loyola University Chicago and Professor of Islamic Studies in the Theology Department. Her numerous publications treat classical and contemporary Islamic thought and cultural studies, including gender. Her next book, “American Sufis” is in preparation for Oxford.

Mahruq F. Khan Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her 2007 dissertation in Sociology studied feminist and queer Muslims in the United States. Her current research interests include gender and sexuality norms within immigrant communities in the United States

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