Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
John L. Jackson, Jr.
This project uses race as a lens to explore intra-Muslim relations among Black U.S. American and Arab American Sunni Muslims in “Muslim Philadelphia.” In it, I examine how racio-religious hierarchies inform social relations, subjectivities, and geographies in the city. I draw upon work theorizing race and Islam, especially in the U.S. (e.g., Khabeer 2016, 2009; Jackson 2013; Grewal 2013, 2006; Karim 2008, 2006, 2005; Jackson 2005); and I also develop my own theories of “ummah talk” and “race silence” to describe the ways race and the ummah are, and are not, talked about by Muslims and in Muslim spaces. Using data from my ethnographic fieldwork, I argue that Arab-Black and other intra-Muslim relations in Philadelphia are structured hierarchically in ways that both reflect and diverge from mainstream, U.S. racial logics. Following Jackson (2005) and Khabeer (2009), I call this unique racio-religious ideology and ordering, “Arab-immigrant supremacy” and ask how this system integrates elements of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and global and regional orders. I use the term “Muslim Philadelphia” throughout to refer to the diverse population of Muslims who call Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home and to the specific Islamic culture of the city, which despite this diversity is inextricable from Blackness.
Abell, Jane Lief, ""those Philly Muslims": Race, Islam, And The Search For Muslim Philadelphia" (2022). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 5457.