Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations

Nomadic Subjectivity and Muslim Women: A Critical Ethnography of Identities, Cultures, and Discourses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Sandra Faulkner (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Ellen Gorsevski (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Joshua Atkinson (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Khani Begum (Other)


This dissertation (auto)ethnographically explores Muslim women's identity formations and negotiations within an American context. A relational examination and application of the Communication Theory of Identity is used to describe and challenge the ways in which scholars understand cultural identities in discursive webs of contestation. Fifteen Muslim women from Northwest Ohio share their stories and experiences to demystify their often misunderstood and misrepresented identities. They speak of women's rights and empowerment that they achieve through and with Islam. Through their voices, I challenge hegemonic notions of Islamophobia, nationalism, an immigrant sociological narrative, citizenship, and bullying. I advocate Braidotti's nomadic subjectivity as we reframe and grow in our becoming together as more socially aware, culturally accepting, and understanding the diversity that exists even within our own communities.