American Islam Emerging: Ethnographic Explorations of Bangladeshi Diasporic Communities and Their Identity Politics, Piety Movements, and Meaning-Making in New York City Post 9/11

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




A.H. Peter Castro


Gender Identity Youth;Islam Place and Spaces;Piety Politics;Race Racialization & Islamophobia;Religious Movement;South Asian Diaspora Bangladesh Transnationalism

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Religion


This dissertation examines how members of a South Asian diasporic Bangladeshi migrant community living in New York City have articulated an Islam aligned with their position as U.S. immigrants post 9/11. With ethnographic insights, the dissertation explores what types of negotiation and navigation the members have needed to go through in order to assert their Islamic identities. It focuses on five overlapping arenas where this definition of Islam is articulated: temporal experiences (prior to the events of 9/11 and after) of individuals living in the city as first- and second-generation residents (both male and female); women’s piety movements; digital platforms as modes for seeking religious knowledge for women and youth; community organizations (religious and non-religious); and the places and spaces of religious and social movements. Based on explorations of these diverse areas in the community, it suggests that there is an emerging Islam in the U.S. that is “new” in its articulations and imaginations. The dissertation also investigates the intricate process of how this new American Islam is constructed and emerging, taking into account its nuanced, fluid, ever-shifting, yet somewhat fixed and solidifying characteristics. The study focuses specifically on how members of the diasporic Bangladeshi community have sought to make meaning of their American identities and what it means to be Muslim in a climate of all too prevalent Islamophobia. By delving into these communities’ lived realities, beliefs, practices, and piety movements, this research intends to uncover the complex interplay between their American identities and their religious sense of self. Finally, this investigation seeks to shed light on the multifaceted ways in which these communities negotiate their religious and cultural identities within the context of U.S. society, particularly post-9/11.


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