Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

De-MIST-ifying the adolescent development of Muslim American high school students: A qualitative study of schooling and youth programming experiences of participants in the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament
by Khan, Shaza, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2009, 220; 3357082
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation research examined schooling and youth programming experiences of participants in the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST), a youth program specific to Muslims. Data from interviews, MIST documents, and participant observations were analyzed using grounded theory to explore the challenges and opportunities that participants faced in school and society, particularly in the post-9/11 climate, and their responses to those challenges. By using MIST as the context for the study, it further explored how youth programs for Muslims, such as MIST, can strive to support the positive youth development of participants through a careful consideration of their identities as Muslim Americans and the contexts in which they are coming of age.

Interviews with participants revealed that many Muslim American youth were affected by the racialization of their religion, where they were often made to feel different or marginalized. Many felt obligated to act as “ambassadors” of Islam, even though they recognized the difficulties involved in this responsibility. They felt pressure in school and society to correct stereotypes about Muslims and re-present their religion in a positive light. In contrast, participants felt that MIST provided them with a space in which they could be themselves, meet other Muslims from diverse backgrounds, and explore their identities as Muslims. However, some participants also felt MIST was from a Sunni-perspective and imposed unrealistic restrictions on inter-gender interactions and clothing requirements, causing them to feel marginalized at the tournament.

This study has the potential to expand theories on the racialization of religion and positive youth development. Specifically, it illustrates some of the ways in which the effects of racialization differ based on various personal and contextual factors, such as gender, and it suggests that the latent variables of positive youth development, or the “Five C's,” be crafted with an understanding of and sensitivity to the multiple contexts in which diverse youth participate and operate. In addition, it provides recommendations for educators and other practitioners to create more spaces, both in school and during out-of-school time contexts, which can foster positive youth development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: James-Wilson, Sonia, Borasi, Raffaella
School: University of Rochester
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Educational sociology, Secondary education, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Adolescent, Adolescent development, High school, Identity formation, Muslim, Muslim Interscholastic Tournament, Positive youth development, Racialization, Youth programs
Publication Number: 3357082
ISBN: 978-1-109-13898-6
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