South Asian Muslim American girl power: Structures and symbols of control and self-expression

Marcia Hermansen, Mahruq F. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


South Asian Muslim American (SAMA) girls studied ethnographically in Chicago and more broadly in the United States negotiate these three components (South Asian, Muslim, and American) of identity across the spheres of home, Islamic institutions, and the public "American" realm.. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork at an Islamic school and within South Asian families and mosques, the authors illustrate how nascent "girl" power is evidenced in these contexts drawing on media representations, academic sources, and data drawn from participant observation. Sources of SAMA girls' expressions of confidence and power are selective use of identity markers, increased mastery of Islamic knowledge, and various subtle acts of resistance to norms imposed upon them within home and family interactions, Islamic spaces, and the American public sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-105
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of International Women's Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Muslim girls
  • South Asian
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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