Dissertation Title:

The Nomadic Identity: The Phenomenon of Being Arab American Muslim Women in the Post September-11th American Society


Nihal N. Makhyoun

Date, Time & Place:

September 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Townhouse, Lambert Road campus


Until September 11, 2001, Arab Americans were a concealed minority that blended within America’s multicultural fabric making the acculturation and assimilation into their host country an individualized process. However, the events of 9/11 have influenced this personalized phenomenon. This qualitative phenomenological study explores the post September 11th experiences of five women from Arab, Muslim backgrounds that do not physically appear Muslim or Arab. Participants engaged in open-ended and semi-structured interviews to understand the influence of the political climate on the individuation process of women triangulated between cultures and concept of self.

The four main themes that captured the fundamental characteristic of the lived experiences of Arab American women in the context of two polarized cultures included: Emulation of American Identity, Experiences of Hatred, Re-Evaluation of Being American, and Balance of Public versus Private Identity. The results illuminated the influential role of the sociopolitical polarization that discourages an integrated an Arab American identity and encourages the creation of a false self. The findings in this study contribute to depth psychology’s understanding of the splitting between public and personal personas necessitated by American society’s Islamophobic stance.


**Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle to campus from the Best Western in Carpinteria. There will be driveway and parking lot resurfacing work being done. There is no parking on campus.**

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, Track A, 2009
  • Chair: Dr. Oksana Yakushko
  • Reader: Dr. Azarm Ghareman
  • External Reader: Dr. Manijeh Badiee
  • Keywords: Arab-American, Americanized, Women, Identity, Islamophobia, Muslim, Political