Date of Award

4-17-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geosciences

First Advisor

Dona J. Stewart - Chair

Second Advisor

Jeremy W. Crampton

Third Advisor

Katherine B. Hankins

Abstract

This study analyzes identity, class, religiosity, and belonging as they affect the experiences of female Middle Eastern and Muslim immigrants in various spaces within the context of the Atlanta, Georgia area and draws attention to the ‘othering’ of immigrants in American society. The exploration of immigrants’ experiences in various spaces includes public and semi-public, employment, educational and organizational spaces. Interviews were conducted on 24 female immigrants in the Atlanta area who possess various backgrounds. While female immigrants who wear the hijab experienced more, and more direct, discrimination than those who wear Western styles, the women who wear hijab were not discouraged from attempting to participate in the host society. Female immigrants who wear Western style attire reported indirect negative experiences in public and semi-public spaces. Immigrants’ experiences underscore the concept that socially acceptable stereotypes in the media become fodder for negative stereotypes in mainstream American society.

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