Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:How do College of Business students perceive Muslims in business?
Spring 2010
Abstract:The purpose of my study was to evaluate how students in the College of Business at the University of Illinois perceive Muslims, as classmates in the COB and as potential coworkers in the real world. As a senior in the COB I have noticed a lack of racial diversity in my business classes compared to other classes, for example Latino/a studies. I was curious to see how other COB students perceived racial diversity in the college. I interviewed six business students, varying in age, race, ethnicity and gender. I thought interviewing would be easy since I have known all them for at least a semester, but I quickly realized that the interviewees who I have known for a longer period of time were more comfortable opening up on sensitive issues like race and religion. I struggled with getting the interviewees to give honest responses compared to the politically correct and polite responses I received. Some of the interviewees, Peter especially, were very open and honest, revealing a lot of information. Some of my findings included aligning corporate America with being white, culturally and racially. Other findings included gender issues, when posed with the situation of working with a woman in a hijab, the men were more cautious and the women were more curious. Overall, the study was a success. If I were to continue researching this topic, I would focus my study on why students behave the way they do in certain situations and how there hope of working in corporate America affects their behavior.
Issue Date:2010
Course / Semester:When did Muslims arrive in the Americas? What is the history of Muslim immigrants in the United States? This course was an introduction to the study of Muslims in the United States. In examining the multiple racial, cultural, and national groups that make-up this diverse community, students questioned what it means to be Muslim in America. The course began with the first contact between Islam and America in the “Age of Discovery” and the African slave trade to think through the roots of Islam and its role in the contemporary moment. In this moment students also examined how indigenous Americans, referred to as American Indians, are conceptualized in relation to the Muslims of Europe and simultaneously racialized. In historicizing Islam students examined the communities who first arrived as crypto-Muslims to understand the place of Latinos in American Islam. Second, students examined African American Islam in its myriad formations. These two examples were then used comparatively to understand how the historical narrative of African American and Latino Muslims is related to newer immigrant populations. In large part, students surveyed Arab American and South Asian American Muslim communities particularly in urban contexts. These later two populations grew through large immigrant waves in the 19th century and the late twentieth century, particularly after 1965. In addition to the multi-racial and comparative perspective, this course examined intra-religious (sectarian) and interfaith differences and dialogues. This material was explored through an interdisciplinary approach focusing on the scholarship mainly from anthropology, history, sociology, religious studies, and ethnic studies. For many of class discussions this course used Chicago as an ethnographic site to explore the complex make-up and history of Muslim America.
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-28

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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