Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Conversion experiences of three white American Muslim males: The impact of centering and decentering forces
by Eletreby, Dina Mohamed, Ph.D., Chapman University, 2010, 342; 3440227
Abstract (Summary)

This phenomenological study describes the subjective experiences of three white American males‘ conversion to Islam. The study explored the experiences prior to and following the participants‘ conversion, as well as looked specifically at how their whiteness and masculinity influenced their life decisions. The focus of the study was primarily on how family, school, friends, and culture impacted their sense of identity which included their social placement, personal motivations, and spiritual development. Using a theoretical framework grounded in a blend of Postcolonialism, Feminist Theory, and Islamic epistemology, a unique culturally responsive research methodology was formulated in an effort to uphold a reciprocal and balanced approach which honored the voices of the researcher and the researched in a complementary manner.

The findings reveal that these participants experienced marginalization due to non-white aligned or non-masculine aligned characteristics prior to their conversion to Islam. Findings also reveal how the individual characteristics of the participants were moved out of a position of marginalization within the American Muslim community causing a sense of social comfort. The experiences lay the foundations for a grounded theory of conversion of white American males to Islam. In addition, participants revealed a religio-masculine tension related to previous faith systems where acceptance of core beliefs on faith alone caused what was referred to as an 'intellectual break‘. This intellectual break seemed to be resolved since participants expressed a rational or logical connection with Islam. Finally, these participants shared what it is like to be a Muslim within the context of a post-9/11 America which privileges whiteness, masculinity, and secularism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: SooHoo, Suzanne, Nevin, Ann
Commitee: Ferguson, Phil, Monzo, Lilia
School: Chapman University
Department: College of Education Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Islamic Studies, Religious education, Gender studies
Keywords: American Muslim, Conversion, Culturally responsive methodology, Islam, Masculinity, Whiteness
Publication Number: 3440227
ISBN: 978-1-124-47066-5
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