Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

John W. Murphy

Second Committee Member

Linda L. Belgrave

Third Committee Member

Marisa Omori

Fourth Committee Member

Ronald W. Cox


This project, as a participatory-research endeavor, seeks to empower Muslim-Americans with a sense of place and voice in an environment that has been more conducive to denying both of these considerations. Previous research on Muslims has not dealt with them fairly, despite any good intentions that may have existed. The point of the PAR project is to gain access to the Muslim experience, rather than speaking for these persons. Rather than use their voice, be their voice, or to speak for Muslims, a participatory research project desires to: speak with Muslims, echo their experiences, co-produce knowledge, and leverage resources as a researcher that may advance community autonomy. The task in this project was to co-create a rendering of different Muslim experiences that has yet to exist. Turning towards Muslims as accomplices necessitated a turn away from the Western gaze that recognized Muslims as antithesis, as mission work, or as victims. An accomplice opens spaces and redirects resources to affirm diversity within a particular community. Together, as collaborators/accomplices/Muslims, we came to understand the meanings and concerns of this marginalized community. This dissertation, then, provides an insider’s account to the burdens, honors, and responsibilities of being a part of a “breaking” Muslim community in Miami. From looking Muslim and feeling the pressures of embodiment to the violence and empowerment realized through Muslim bodies, the struggle for meaning represented a struggle for survival and community, as much as a struggle of faith.


Muslim Community; Participatory Action Research; Meaning; Embodiment; Community Autonomy

Available for download on Wednesday, April 29, 2020