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Title page for ETD etd-12022014-134211

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mohyuddin, Hasina Akhtar
Author's Email Address Hasina.A.Mohyuddin.1@Vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-12022014-134211
Title “It’s not part of the religion”: The “Null Curriculum” and the Sexual Identity Development of Muslim American Youth
Degree Master of Science
Department Community Research and Action
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul R. Dokecki, Ph.D. Committee Chair
Douglas D. Perkins, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • Muslim youth
  • religious identity
  • gender
  • sexual identity
  • null curriculum
  • performance theory
Date of Defense 2014-11-25
Availability unrestricted
This paper explores the intersection of religious and sexual identity formation amongst Muslim-American youth, employing psychological theories of identity, sociological theories of performance, and theological perspectives of gender and sexuality in Islam. The mixed-method design utilizes both focus groups and a survey instrument to understand the religious and sexual identity development of Muslim American students (ages 10-14) in a medium-sized city in the southern United States. The project contrasts three particular school settings – public schools that have a large Muslim population, public schools that have few Muslim students, and Islamic schools. The study seeks to understand Muslim youths’ beliefs regarding the Islamic teachings on gender and sexuality, Muslim youths’ beliefs regarding their peers’ expectations on gender and sexuality, the impact of social contexts on religious and sexual identity formation, and ways in which sexuality is moderated by the religious beliefs of Muslim youth. Findings suggest that gender and sexuality are often part of a null curriculum for Muslim youth – issues that are considered taboo and thus un-Islamic. However, Muslim youth who do utilize religious scripts are found to be able to make agentic choices about their sexual identity. In addition, improving parental scripts on gender and sexuality can have a positive impact on the sexual identity formation of Muslim American youth.
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